We are doing the same thing always: we consider aims, goals and ends as of primary importance. This has put man into many difficulties. The first thing that is to be understood is that the goal is somewhere in the future and we are in the present. Wherever we are, we will be in the present and our goals will always be in the future. The goal can never be in the present, we can never be in the future; whenever we are, we are in the present, we can never be in the future. Therefore, we are creating such a tension in our mind which cannot be resolved. We are creating such a mad anxiety in a person which cannot be removed. His goal is always in the future and he is in the today. There can be no meeting between today and tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes it will become today and the goal will shift to the tomorrow. In such a situation the person will live unchanged throughout his life and his idea of the goal will continue to torture him and harass him.
If a man is violent he will remain violent, but the goal will be nonviolence. He will say that sometime he will become nonviolent: if not in this life, in the next he will become nonviolent. But he will continue to remain violent because he has to live today and nonviolence can happen tomorrow; thus the nonviolence that is going to happen tomorrow will remain to be achieved tomorrow. He will go on postponing.
Thus there is one beauty in a goal: that whatsoever is important in the life of man, he will look for a trick to postpone it. He will say, “It is not possible to be nonviolent today; I am violent now. Slowly therefore I shall endeavor, meditate, pray, do yoga, take sannyas. If not in this life, in the next life, or in still another life sometime I will become nonviolent. It is not a small thing, that it can happen just today!”
A convenient excuse, therefore, is found to postpone till tomorrow. Now that the goal has been postponed till tomorrow, I shall remain the same as I am today. What can I do? It is not my fault, the goal is not achievable today. Therefore, I shall remain as violent as I am. This means that a man who is violent will remain violent; nonviolence will be the goal and he will engrave in his temple the words: “Nonviolence is the supreme religion. This is the only religion which is to be achieved.”
Our old tirthankaras have achieved this in the past; we have now to achieve the same. It is written in the story about Mahavira, that he achieved nonviolence by toiling for it birth after birth for many births. Therefore that nonviolence is the future goal “but now I am violent.” What I want to emphasize is that this goal-oriented outlook allows you to postpone things, and that is very dangerous.
Another thing that happens as a result of a goal-oriented outlook is that it creates suppression in the mind of a person and creates a sort of torture due to one’s remaining violent. He wants to be nonviolent, what can he do? Should he suppress violence, should he pretend being nonviolent what can be the way out? Since I am violent, even after my pretending nonviolence, my violence is going to continue. It is, therefore, very interesting to note that in becoming nonviolent I shall use violence. If I have to be nonviolent I will run away from my wife; it does not matter if due to my action my wife dies of starvation and the children begin to beg in the streets in the process I am becoming nonviolent. The irony of the situation is that this violent behavior of mine is only with the goal of becoming nonviolent, and therefore it matters little….