Curriculum for Peace (12 March 2008, Gargi College, Delhi) - Track 3

He wanted to eliminate war. He even became the ambassador of peace, when he went to Duryodhana he went for peace and made the demand so little that any reasonable man would have been very glad to offer the truce on the basis of that condition. Now there is a distinction between peace at any cost or if peace as far as possible, these two alternatives also we have to consider. Are we going to advocate peace at any cost, is that our goal of education for peace or peace as far as possible. Sri Krishna at that time advocated peace as far as possible after trying peace at any cost. I think I will stop at this point because I want to have your reactions to these questions.

It’s a very important point; let me formulate this question which also in curriculum, you have to take into account. Wars are of two types, there are two motivations of war. One is motivated by self-interest, for egoistic reasons. The easiest is that every individual wants to expand, self-interest, everybody wants to advance. It’s a basic tendency of human being is to expand. If I go into a railway compartment, I want a good seat and a good seat is also very flexible. We all know what is a good seat. Normally we like to have a good seat in which nobody else is around, alone; I can stretch myself, good seat. Now this is a basic need of human being to have good seat in the world therefore need for expansion. This is the one basic need and it is for that reason if anybody comes into my vicinity, I like to evade, expel that person. This is the basic reason of war. Everyone wants to expand and if two people want to expand then both of them will try to avoid each other and the finished; this is the basic reason why war takes place in the world.

Second is even if I have got peace, I have got a good seat, I might say well I want to tell my people that I command the Railway so much, the whole railway will run only for me, one saloon, I will be the master of all that I survey. It’s a big ambition, not only expansion but an ambition. Now this ambition has also many aspects. Ambition is greatly gratified when it has not only a good space for its kingdom but also has articles and objects and human beings over whom you can dominate. You not only need vast space, you want to dominate, your great satisfaction comes when I tell somebody, do it and he or she does it, I feel greatly satisfied, egoistically. I want to dominate. Why, I like it, there is no why. It’s a natural tendency of the human beings to dominate. Everybody wants his will to succeed. So that is also the cause.  Now in the process of domination there is another factor which comes into the picture – exploitation, I want to exploit. To derive the maximum profit out of the people whom I dominate, I enjoy the exploitation that is why slavery was flourishing at one time in the history of the world. Slaves were exploited. So need for expansion, need to dominate and the need to exploit, these are the fundamental reasons why people enter into war. They all emerge out of self-interest. But there is also another tendency in man. There is in human beings a great search for justice. It’s not that everybody seeks only domination and exploitation, it’s not true. There is also this aspect of human nature which seeks justice which wants to love, to cooperate, to protect, to nourish, to cherish, to relish, you want to give to the individual the right portion that is due to him. And when you find that some people are dominating and refusing justice then they want to fight. This is the question that she put up about injustice. If you see injustice before your eyes, what do you do? As Sri Aurobindo writes at the time of the freedom struggle ‘if you see your mother being attacked by a monster, and you stand what will you do? War, where is the question of peace. Therefore the idea of peace education is not so simple, as telling goody, goody stories to children.