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Chapter 1: The Psychology of War

The field of righteousness ceases to exist the day people gather there to fight a war. The day that fighting becomes imperative, the possibility of any religiousness surviving in this world comes to an end. Thus, at one time it may have been a field of righteousness, of religion, but now it is not. Now, people who are eager to kill one another have assembled at the very place that is known as dharmakshetra - the field of righteousness.

This beginning is really extraordinary. It is also extraordinary in the sense that now it will be very hard to figure out what must be happening on the fields of unrighteousness, on the fields of irreligiousness, if this is what happening on the field of righteousness. What can be happening on this field of righteousness if Dhritarashtra is already asking Sanjay: “I want to know what my sons and their opponents, who are eager for war, are doing”?

Perhaps a field of righteousness has not yet been created on this earth. If it had been, then war would no longer be a possibility. But when the possibility of war still exists, and when even a field of righteousness is turned into a battlefield, then how can we blame or criticize the unrighteous, the irreligious?

The truth is that perhaps there have been fewer wars on the fields of unrighteousness than on the fields of righteousness, of religion. If we were to think in terms of war and bloodshed, then fields of righteousness would look more like fields of unrighteousness than the actual fields of unrighteousness do.

We should understand the irony involved here - that up to now, wars have taken place in religious domains. Don’t think that this is happening only now; that temples and mosques have become dens of war only today. Thousands of years ago - when it is generally believed that good people lived on this earth, and a wonderful person like Krishna was present - even then people had gathered to fight on the religious fields of the Kuru. This deep-rooted thirst for war, this deeply ingrained desire for destruction, this deeply hidden animal within remains with man even on the fields of righteousness. Even there, this animal makes preparations for war.

It is good to remember this, and also to remember that fighting becomes even more dangerous when it comes from behind the shield of religion - because then it seems justified.

So, this religious scripture begins with the blind Dhritarashtra’s curiosity. All religious scriptures begin with some blind man’s curiosity. In fact, the day that there are no blind people in this world, there will be no need for any religious scriptures. So here he is, this blind man who is being curious.

What is the significance of Sanjay, who reports on the war to Dhritarashtra, in the Gita? Did Sanjay possess powers of seeing and hearing from afar? What is the source of his mental powers? Is this power intrinsic?

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