You will be surprised to know that even after India’s freedom and all the talk of nonviolence and the great power of nonviolence that has given India freedom –while Gandhi was still alive – they named the diplomatic part of New Delhi “Chanakyapuri,” after that man of five thousand years ago. Chanakya, the City of Chanakya – and he was saying exactly what Machiavelli said just two or three centuries ago: “The best way of defense is to attack.”
You don’t know who is going to attack you. In the animal kingdom, in the human world, there is tremendous competition. So people simply go on attacking, not bothering whom they are attacking or whether he was really going to attack them. But there is no way to find out: it is better not to take a chance.
And when you attack somebody, slowly, slowly your heart becomes harder and harder and you start enjoying attacking. The phenomenon can be seen in the animals because it is the same competition – for food, for power.
The latest discoveries have found that almost all the animals have a certain hierarchy. If you see twenty monkeys sitting in a tree, the topmost branch will be occupied by the president. He is the most powerful monkey; he has defeated everybody. And of course, because he is the most powerful, he has the best women around him. Nobody can touch those women. The poor monkeys on the lowest branches are without any women because the number of both sexes is equal.
And below the president is the prime minister: he has his own group of women. Then there is the cabinet. And as you go on lower down the tree then there are ordinary monkeys – businessmen, soldiers. And when you reach the bottom you will find the poorest monkeys – the beggars, the loafers, the criminals. They have nothing.
And often there is a chaos. If the old monkey dies then there is a great conflict again: who is to become the head? Or even if the old monkey is alive but has become too old, the younger monkeys cannot tolerate him: they throw him out. Some younger monkey becomes the head of the group and he takes possession of the women of the old monkey who is now sitting on the lowest branch.
Just like Richard Nixon – nobody cares, nobody bothers: you have failed. Or Jimmy Carter, just starting his business of peanuts again without even feeling ashamed that from the president to the peanuts, it is a long fall – but what else to do? And you will not hear again of these people unless they die. Then there may be a little information in the newspapers that the ex-president of “the great America” has died.
Cruelty is nothing but a competitive spirit to be the first. If it means violence, then violence – but one has to be the first. It is there in the animals, it is in man – but why this rush to be the first?
The existential reason is death. Life is uncertain: you are alive today, tomorrow you may not be. And there is so much to be enjoyed, and time is so short. This shortage of time and so much to be lived, so much to be loved, so much to be enjoyed, creates a hectic frenzy that you must reach everything first so you are not missing anything. And if somebody else has reached there, then even if it is needed to kill him, kill him.