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Can we wash blood with blood; you decide? Guest Author – Dr. Sulekh C. Jain

In the entire history of the human race, there have been wars.  Hardly, there been any moment, (not at least in 20th and 21st Century) when there has been no war going on; not just one but maybe several dozen at the same time. Mahabharata (many millennia ago),  1st World  War, 2nd World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Congo War, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan War, etc. are just a few of many examples.

 Some may say that by nature, men are wired to wage and fight the war.  Indian history is full of wars and praises of war heroes are also in other civilizations too.  Our literature is full of stories of rakshasas and Aryans fighting each other. The society promotes not just one eye for an eye but 2 -3 eyes for one eye. Afghanistan has been in the war last 35 years but still no end in sight, the carnage goes on. Similar stories all over.  Amongst India and Pakistan so may war but in spite, we are no better off.  

Causes of Wars 

There are hundreds of causes of wars. Some of these are, ego, zealously, power, arrogance, my way is the only way, feeling of superiority (Hitler and Jews), injustice, too much control on other people’s resources (petroleum and now soon maybe water), territorial gain, economic gain, trading routes and markets, nationalism. revenge, civil war, religion, hatred, repression, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, nationality, drug lords and drug trafficking, human trafficking and slave trades, etc.  

Religions and ideology have been major causes of wars too. In history, women have been the causes of many wars and consequently its victims but not the promoter, wager or starter of the wars. Men cause and wage wars.

All Wars Cause Destruction

No matter what, all wars are inhumane, cruel, spill blood (lots of it, of humans as well as of animals), cause destruction, starvation, migration of innocent people, refugee problems, loss of innocent lives, illnesses, famine, the collapse of the health system and poverty. No war is pious and holy (no war is dharma Yuddha). 

War is the Biggest business after GOD 

One scholar once said, “after God (which is the biggest business in the World), war is the next biggest business”. This consists of daily inventions and the manufacture of weapons of Mass destruction and killing. Also training establishments and complexes ( Military academies, to teach people how to kill people ),  killing machines and machinery, infrastructure, armies,  ammunition, hundreds of types of  Bombs including  Atom and Hydrogen bombs,  armament manufacture and their trade world over ( to cause immense destruction to the people, buildings, animals,  environment, water, air). 

Armament, ammunition and its sale is a huge industry.  Sometimes wars are started just to test many of the newer weapons in the actual battlefield; thus making wars as actual testing or proving grounds. Trillions of dollars are spent every year in training people how to kill. What do all these people after training; start and fight wars. Many millions of people are employed by militaries just to kill. There are many thousand schools, military academies in educating people on how to kill. Wars and war heroes are glorified by society everywhere.

The new killing weapon in future wars maybe some kind of lethal virus and who knows what else! 

In the world, more funds and resources are spent on Wars and its infrastructure than on social welfare. Nearly all societies promote wars, fighting, and violence via violent sports, games, videos, TVs, movies, toys, etc. are very common today. Wars in history have been given holy names too (Dharam Yuddha) such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.

Wars don’t solve any problem

No war has solved any problem. Each war has created new problems and new wars.  In fact, one war lays the foundation of the next new war. In the last century, the 1st World War gave rise to 2nd world War.  The proliferation of Atom and hydrogen Bombs are always the hanging threats of the 3rd World War.

However, when faced with unwanted and unjust aggression, then for the safety and security of its people, culture, and civilization, some wars may be a necessary evil but even, in that case, care should be taken to inflict/cause minimal damage and destruction.

Attempt to Relinquish and Disband Wars 

Emperor Ashoka in 3rd Century BC, after seeing the horrible destruction of life and property in the Kalinga War, renounced war. Since then, many attempts have been made to eliminate and reduce the scourge of wars, but in spite of many attempts, wars still go on. In 1930, the League of Nations (did not survive long) and soon after the dropping of the Atom Bomb on Japan, United Nations Organization was established in 1945 which so far has had limited successes.  

In recent history, Costa Rica  ( a small country in Latin America) is the only example in the whole world which renounced war in 1948,  disbanded its military, established a Dept. of Peace ( not of Dept. of Defense),  and also in the 1980s established an International Peace University. 

There is an alternative to Violence 

We all are familiar with the story of Mahabharata in which, because of the quarrels, disputes, animosity, and fighting between two families of close cousins, the biggest, most devastating, and the greatest war took place at Kurukshetra (India) in which more than a million innocent soldiers, elephants, and horses got killed for no fault of their own. That war of destruction, genocide, and himsa on an unprecedented scale could have been avoided if the two warring families would have imagined the scale of the destruction and instead would have settled their dispute between themselves by other means. Below is one such uplifting story. 

Many Jains know of Bharat and Bahubali (the two sons of Lord Rishabha; the first Tirthankar of the Jains). Bharat (the elder brother) wanted to control all the land and resources and wanted his younger brother Bahubali to be given nothing. He wanted Bahubali should accept his supremacy and be under his rule and command. Bahubali refused. Both brothers decided to go to war to settle this dispute. Both the armies are now in full readiness, facing each other and waiting for the signal to start the fighting. At that very moment, both the brothers realized that the fight is between them, the two brothers, and why should others fight and get killed for nothing.  So, the two brothers decided to have a wrestling match rather than the fight between their armies. Now, both the brothers are wrestling (to settle their conflict) and lots of people, including both the armies, are watching. At one point Bahubali picks up his older brother with his hands, lifts him up to his shoulders, and is just about ready to throw him on the ground, pin him down and win this fight.

Right at that moment, Bahubali reflects that if he does that, this will be a terrible himsa/violence, the animosity between two brothers will linger on for a long time and also he (Bahubali the younger brother) would be setting a bad historical example in humiliating his older brother. Realizing this, Bahubali brings his brother safely down, releases him completely and he (Bahubali) himself renounces and becomes a mendicant. 

This is a great story where two brothers have much at stake (part of the empire and land) and still, they are thinking of resolving with the spirit of ahimsa/non-violence.

In our daily lives, even in small conflicts, we resort to himsa/violence. But always there is a better way. Ahimsa and being an ahimsatmak means always bringing “win-win” situations and lasting peace in families. Ahimsa is living proof that spiritual values can not only be combined with politics but that they also have a successful result in conflict resolution.

Bhagwan Mahavir said “It is better to win over the self than to win over a million enemies. One should fight one’s inner enemies – passions, attachment, aversion, desires and the like. What is the purpose of fighting external enemies? Conquering the self through self-reliance leads to happiness”. 

Mahatma Gandhi said; “Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind and there are many causes I am willing to die for but not a single cause I am willing to kill for”.

To change the thinking in men about violence and wars, we have to educate and train a large army of ahimsak/non-violent soldiers. There are thousands of training establishments to teach how to kill but hardly anyhow not to kill.  Ahimsa is a mindset and a way of life. Killing is not the answer. Ahimsa is. Ahimsa not as a religion or a slogan and within the walls of the temples but it must be 24×7 everywhere. 

Now you decide

Dr. Sulekh C. Jain is the Past Secretary and President of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA). Dr. Jain also authored a book An Ahimsa Crisis: You Decide, which can be accessed as an eBook free of charge at  Email;

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above article solely belong to author Sulekh Jain, Ph.D. and are not an endorsement by The editor is pleased to provide as a platform for the community members to engage in intellectual debates, opinions, and discussions.

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