“Will there ever be peace in this world?” asked my husband when we heard about the Manchester Arena bomb attack. We said no. It was really tragic to say that but it seems as if violence has become a norm. Thoughts of all those terror attacks that had destroyed life came to mind. Such attacks not only destroy lives but also instil fear in the minds of people: the fear whether they would return home in the evening. It is unfortunate that violence has always been a part of human life.
I have just finished reading Kohinoor : The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand. It is a very interesting book because the authors have brought that long-ago world alive. This is the story of the Kohinoor, how it came to India and how it left the country. Every few pages, I had to put the book down. The brutal violence and human greed was difficult to take in. Through the years rulers tortured and killed to take possession of the diamond. What is that fascination in precious gems that drives people to murder? I remember the book Cat among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie. This novel is also about gems, their fascination and violence that follows them. Christie writes about the emotions of the school girl when she sees them, ‘the girl became a woman at that moment when she gazed at the precious gems for the first time.’ Such is the power of all those precious stones.
Writing about violence I recall an article which I read many years ago. It was by Swami Visharadananda in the magazine Vedanta Kesari. The author states that physical violence is the worst and grossest form of violence. But violence can also be verbal and mental. They are equally hurtful. Many a time we speak without thinking. We do not care about the feelings of others. Some people are so used to looking at negative points that they do not even realize what they are doing. It is rightly said, “A mind which is busy thinking of other’s faults is like a housefly looking for a wound and relishing it.” The author writes further, “In order to practice verbal non-violence, we should remember that it is not easy to heal others’ hurt feelings, but to hurt others is easy.” Speaking ill of others in their absence is also verbal violence. If we keep thinking ill of others, sometime or the other it comes out- through words or actions. First it is a mere idea, if we do not check it, it slowly assumes greater form and intensity.
William Blake has expressed the same idea so beautifully in his poem, A poison Tree.
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
Humans with Earth Movers slowly killing Mother Earth.