But it is worth understanding that the more violent a mind is, the more full of attachment it is. Violence and attachment live together, side by side. A nonviolent mind transcends attachment. In fact, one who wants to be nonviolent has to let go of the very idea of attachment. The very sense of “mine” is violence, because as soon as I say “mine,” I have begun to separate myself from that which is not mine. As soon as I address someone as a friend, I have begun to make someone else my enemy. As soon as I draw a line around those who are mine, I have also drawn a line around those who are strangers to me. All violence is an outcome of the boundary created between those who are “mine” and those who are outsiders, “not mine.”
That is why Arjuna suddenly became weak, limp. All his limbs gave way: not because he suddenly became averse to war or because he found anything wrong with the violence that was about to ensue, or because a sudden pull towards nonviolence took place in his mind. Arjuna became weak because his mind was suddenly gripped by the other side, by the opposite side of violence; by its much deeper component, by its fundamental basis. His mind was gripped by the feeling of “mine-ness,” of attachment.
Mine-ness, attachment, is nothing but violence. It will be difficult to understand the whole of the Gita without first understanding this. To those who cannot understand this point, it seems as if Arjuna was actually leaning towards nonviolence and that Krishna pushed him towards violence. If someone were leaning towards nonviolence, Krishna would never want to push him towards violence. In fact, even if Krishna wanted to, he would not be able to.
The situation here is that Arjuna is not leaning even one iota towards nonviolence. Arjuna’s mind has moved to and is stuck at the very foundational point of violence. Mine-ness is nothing but the very foundation of violence.
Arjuna saw his own people – loved ones, relatives. Had they not been his beloved ones and relatives, Arjuna would have slaughtered them like cattle – but he found it difficult to do so because these were his own people. Had they been strangers he would have felt no difficulty in cutting them to pieces.
Nonviolence can only be born in the consciousness of a person who has gone beyond the feeling of “mine” and “yours.” The reason behind Arjuna’s troubled mind is not that he is attracted towards nonviolence, but that he has touched the very basis of violence.
It is natural that the basis, the foundation stone of violence surfaced in such a moment of crisis. Had the enemies been strangers, Arjuna would not have even noticed that he was a violent person or that he was doing anything wrong in killing them. He would have never felt that war was against religiousness. His limbs would not have given way; instead, on seeing these strangers they would have become even tauter. His arrow would have been set on the bow, his hands would have grasped his sword – he would have been delighted, exhilarated.
But at this point, Arjuna became completely sad, and in that state of sadness he encountered the real basis of the violence that was within him. What he saw at that moment of crisis was “mine-ness.”
It is a surprising thing that we are often only able to see into the depths of our minds during moments of crisis. We do not see these depths in ordinary moments. In ordinary moments we live ordinarily. It is only during extraordinary moments that what is hidden in the deepest part of us begins to manifest.