Today it is Mali. Yesterday it was Paris. The day before it was Beirut. Last month it was Sinai. The month before it was Nigeria. Last year it was Peshawar. The year before it was… Sigh. What a futile exercise this!
I was browsing through my phone on the day of the Paris attacks. ‘But why don’t they pray to God and He will stop the shooting no, Amma?’ asked my son as he spotted a picture of a man bleeding from the Paris attack. I didn’t know how to tell him that the people who were killing were doing it in God’s name only.
One day while watching Little Krishna on the TV, this question sprang up – ‘Amma.. You say we should not fight. That we should forgive others even if they wrong us. But then, why does Krishna kill Kamsa? If Krishna is God, he could have turned Kamsa into a good guy, isn’t it?’
On the way to the Ramayana class – ‘Amma.. If you’re saying that even hitting is bad, why does Rama and Lakshmana always have a bow and arrow by their side?’
Questions like these stump me. We teach our kids that God is love. Then, we take them to the temple and show that every deity has a weapon by their side. We teach our kids not to fight. Then, we narrate to them the story of Parashurama (an avatar of Vishnu) who went on a killing spree to destroy all the Kshatriyas.
If we look at our two great epics, we can safely say that at least two-thirds of them are filled with so much violent content that puts to shame even the most violent movie releasing these days.
In Ramayana, one full Kanda is Yuddha Kanda where not only human beings but even monkeys and bears and vultures fight. Well.. That is the last chapter but even upto there, there’s enough and more violence. Right from attacking Maricha and Subahu, attacking Surpanakha, killing Vali, Hanuman setting the entire Lanka on fire.. there’s just so much violence.
And then, the Bharatha. Six of the eighteen parvas are what happens during Kurukshetra. The happenings of the war are written in such excruciating detail which is a treasure trove of ideas to the modern man on how to kill others. And, this is believed to be a sacred text. Sigh.
But, Rama and Krishna fought to bring order in the world. Rama and Krishna were on the side of good. Rama and Krishna are avatars of God. Yes, they are. So do the people who kill innocent human beings today think of themselves. They think they are right. They think by killing others God will give them salvation. They think by killing others order will be restored in this chaotic world. They think they are messengers of God and are here to bring about good in this world.
One question that has been doing the rounds with so many contrasting views is this – Does terrorism have a religion? Terrorism is ‘the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.’ From the definition, I still don’t know if terrorism has a religion. What I do know is that our religions and religious texts have so much terrorism in them.