No Comparison Explained
(or A BARGAINS BEST USE)
Posted June 24, 2004
My article "No Comparison" was not about criticizing the wonderful efforts that our devotee soldiers are making to develop- and to spread- Krishna consciousness in the war zone. They all have my full sympathy and admiration. I hope that if I am ever forced into a similar situation, I will be able to rise to the occasion and use it to my advantage and to advantage of others, like they are doing.
Nevertheless, I still consider that enlisting in a war which kills and maims innocent human beings is against our religious principles. This is crystal clear from our books- there are several categories of living entities who are always to be protected and never killed, and these include women, children and the elderly. Arjunas duty was to fight, even though it was hellish for him to do so. So in that way his situation is similar to the current one in Iraq. However, the essential point I am trying to make is that his duty did not involve breaking away from religious principles, but instead upholding them. And he was a pure devotee- sold out to Krishna in heart and soul. If such a pure devotee was so very very careful to never deviate from religious principles, what to speak of us? Do we not need to be even more vigilant?
The word Ksatriya means to protect from harm, specifically to protect innocent living beings. The US military is not comprised of ksatriyas, any more than modern dairy farmers constitute the vaisya group of cow protectors. Actually , they are opposed to the protection of the innocent, despite their rhetoric. They may be less evil than those demons who use civilians as a human shield or who deliberately target them. They at least make some attempt to reduce civilian casualties. Still, there are many hundreds of thousands of such casualties. And who is responsible?
The law of karma cannot be invoked- that these people deserved to die for sins they committed in the past. That is Gods responsibility. Ours is to follow His laws- varnasrama dharma- and uphold the vaisnava qualities of justice and compassion. It may be argued that preaching Krishna consciousness is transcendental to the rules and regulations of varnasrama. Thats true, and thats why a devotee in any situation should not despair. But the conscious decision to put oneself in a situation where one has to kill, and justify that its OK because I will go there and preachis bad logic. If those we have preached to happen to read our philosophy and find that we believe that the innocent should always be protected, they will certainly consider us devotees to be hypocritical, and either go away because they are after the right thing, or stay because they are after the wrong thing- cheating religion. Either way, we have failed them. Thats why a devotee preacher must always preach by example, if he wants any measure of success.
So while its commendable that our devotee soldiers are making the best use
of a bad bargain, better still is avoid the bad bargain in the first place.
That makes more sense. If a person due to misjudgment happens to enter into
a bad bargain, we may rightly sympathize his misfortune and even admire his
capability to cope with the situation he has put himself into, but we
should not follow suit. That would be extremely foolish.