Killings, motivated by political, religious, or social issues, are a common occurrence in our world today. What can we do about this situation?
“If you turn back the pages of the history books and try to find an answer as to why man kills man, the only intelligent explanation that will come to your mind is that man has not been able to effect a change in his inner nature. And the reason why he hasn’t been able to do this is simply because he has not known how,” observed Satyananda (1923–2002), a spiritual master from India.
Although retaliation and war have been the overwhelming responses to terrorism, an effective strategy, as pointed out in my book, Building a Noble World, must address terrorism’s root cause: the condition of the human mind.
Revenge and violence are often committed under the influence of delusion and ignorance of the fundamental law that governs the universe. This universal law is known, in scientific circles, as the Law of Cause and Effect, in spiritual circles, as Karma, and commonly referred to as, “what goes around comes around.” or “As you sow, so shall you reap.” According to this law, every action has a reaction. The world- renowned spiritual master Sivananda (1887–1963) wrote: “From the vibration of an electron to the revolution of a mighty planet, from the falling of a mango to the ground to the powerful willing of a Yogi, from the motion of a runner in athletics to the movement of radio waves in the subtle ether, from the transmitting of a telegraphic message to the telepathic communication of a Yogi in the thought-world—every event is the effect of some invisible force that works in happy concord and harmony with the law of cause and effect.”
By continuing to respond to violence with violence, we are simply perpetuating a vicious circle. “If the other party did wrong, doing wrong in return will only add another black to the previous black but will not make it white,” said Rama Tirtha (1873–1906), a brilliant mathematician and spiritual master. A wrongdoing must be condemned, but why condemn a wrongdoer? History reveals that even a criminal can be transformed into a noble person through spiritual practices. For example, Angulimala was a ferocious criminal, but he became saintly through contact with Buddha (560 BC–480 BC). Therefore, it makes sense to treat aggressive, unreasonable, and hostile wrongdoers in the manner that doctors attend to their psychologically sick patients.
The solution to terrorism, which is the biggest threat to world today, lies in meditation. Meditation on the inner soul, which anyone can practice regardless of one’s own religion, race, or nationality, purifies the mind of all weaknesses such as anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, lust, and egoistic pride. Meditation brings about a significant and rapid change in both the character and behavior of an individual who sincerely practices it. After experiencing peace of mind through meditation, people tend to feel love and kindness towards their fellow beings.
Darkness is never removed by imposing a thicker darkness. According to Rama Tirtha, no one is permanently reformed through threats and punishments because they compel. If threats and punishments could mend matters, this world would have been a heavenly abode a long time ago, not a kind of world it is today. It is a blunder to believe in the efficacy of threats and punishments. To dispel “darkness,” we need to bring in “light.” Indeed, meditation, not the power of money or weapons, is the way to end terrorism and to build a noble world. Therefore, what is needed today is a mass awareness of the power of meditation.