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Sri Aurobindo

Karmayogin

POLITICAL WRITINGS AND SPEECHES — 1909-1910 — No. 32

Karmayogin: A Weekly Review

Saturday 12th February 1910 — No.32

Passing Thoughts

The Gita and Terrorism

Mr. Risley repeats a charge we have grown familiar with, that the Gita has been misused as a gospel of Terrorism. We cannot find any basis for this accusation except the bare fact that the teaching of the Gita was part of the education given by Upendranath Banerji in the Maniktola garden. There is no evidence to show that its tenets were used to justify a gospel of Terrorism. The only doctrine of the Gita the Terrorist can pervert to his use, is the dictum that the Kshatriya must slay as a part of his duty and he can do it without sin if he puts egoism away and acts selflessly without attachment, in and for God, as a sacrifice, as an offering of action to the Lord of action. If this teaching is in itself false, there is no moral basis for the hero, the soldier, the judge, the king, the legislature which recognises capital punishment. They must all be condemned as criminals and offenders against humanity. It is undoubtedly true that since the revival of religious thought in India the Gita has ceased to be what Mr. Risley calls it, a transcendental philosophy, and has been made a rule of life. It is undoubtedly true that selflessness, courage, a free and noble activity have been preached as the kernel of the ethics of the Gita. That teaching has in no country been condemned as ignoble, criminal or subversive of morality, nor is a philosophy of any value to any sensible being if it is only transcendental and cannot be lived. We strongly protest against the brand of suspicion that has been sought to be placed in many quarters on the teaching and possession of the Gita, our chief national heritage, our hope for the future, our great force for the purification of the moral weaknesses that stain and hamper our people.

 

Earlier edition of this work: Sri Aurobindo Birth Century Library: Set in  30  volumes.- Volume 2.- Karmayogin: Political Writings and Speeches (1909 1910).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1972.- 441 p.