A number of students have asked me to write on this present war and just what does Yoga have to say about war?

"The sooner you transcend your own ego and unite with Atman, the sooner you will see the harmony in ALL of life."
- Swami

This is a very difficult thing to do, not so much in stating the whys of war, but more because this present one seems to have split the world up in its feelings about this war with all its collateral damage and seemingly power mongering.

To begin I will add a quote from a book called The life of Pi.

"I left town and on my way back, at a point where the land was high and I could see the sea to my left and down the road a long ways, I suddenly felt I was in heaven. The spot was no different from when I had passed it not long before, but my way of seeing it had changed. The feeling, a paradoxical mix of pulsing energy and profound peace, was intense and blissful. Whereas before the road, the sea, the trees, the air, the sun all spoke differently to me, now they spoke one language of unity. Tree took account of road, which was aware of air, which was mindful of sea, which shared things with sun. Every element lived in harmonious relation with its neighbour, and all was kith and kin. I knelt a mortal; I rose an immortal. I felt like the center of a small circle coinciding with the center of a much larger one. Atman had met Allah."

Although this young man had passed this way before and seen the same scene many times, it was on this pass, that his world changed and he felt in harmony with the whole.

It is this kind of approach that a Yogi must try and seek, that is the harmony in diversity, balance in chaos and equanimity in entropy.

I was 11 years of age during the great world war - at its beginning in 1939. I was already studying Yoga then and I had read all the western philosophers, and starting on the Eastern ones, so it seemed natural to me at that young age to have taken a great interest in politics also.

I remember distinctly how the British Empire hemmed and hawed over whether Hitler was dangerous or not.

Churchill, then a member of parliament, was vehement in his tirades against this Hitlerian regime, warning of the imminent dangers to the world, yet many of the Lords and gentry who entertained members of the German chancellery seemed to be under the spell of these sweet talking men - so much so they fell under the influence of them by being conditioned enough to fire their Jewish staff members. It became an outrage to much saner members of the British public.

The Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, tried untiringly to appease the dominant greed for power of Hitler, while all the time he was being egged on by Churchill to stop this maniac before he destroys the civilized world. Churchill was then labeled a WAR MONGER by the peace lovers.

Hitler had lied left right and center holding Chamberlain in his captive net, until one day the news broke that The German army had marched in to Poland and taken the country over. The rest is history.

Most of my students on the internet are not old enough to have actual memory of the horror of that war, nor what led up to it, nor the absolute disgrace of humans treating other humans so inhumanely.

In this case - war was the right thing to do - but you know, right up until Poland was overtaken, most of the nation hated the thought of war. Had the nation listened to Churchill rather than thinking of him as a war monger, preparations could have been made to have stopped the madman Hitler much more quickly.

Is this present war a repeat of the same scenario? So much diplomacy - so many resolutions ignored - and now so many marches in protest. Is President Bush a war monger? Well just as in that last great war, only history will bear out the justice of his actions.

It is quite honorable of peacemakers to protest, but are they really right in this case. I don't know - nor do you.

The world waited too long before 1939 - and perhaps it waited too long this time also.

Any student of Yoga should have read the great book, The Bhagavad-Gita, as here it tells of a great war between two inter related families. The powerful Prince Arjuna labors over the fact that he will have to be killing some of his relatives, uncles and aunts. This huge moral dilemma almost becomes too much for him until the God Krishna mounts the chariot with him and gives the long discourse, which makes up the Bhagavad-Gita, on his duty and on his course of action and also the fact that "those of us who will be killed are dead already". In other words the great Lila (play) of life must go on in order to fulfill what has already been scripted.

Taken in a literal sense it does make some wars absolutely the right thing to do, but the Gita goes even deeper than the literal sense, and from an allegorical point of view explains how one must kill out in one's self all the attributes which one has come to love and become attached to.

Historically there has always been war - our scriptures tell us that. Jesus said, "there will always be war and rumours of war."

It is not quite as catastrophic as one might think. I realize that peaceful people, people who like harmony, niceness, health and well being would enjoy those qualities to exist at all times - Utopia on demand! This is not how the world operates, nor how the Cosmos operates, nor how you as an individual operate. It is a dream - more than that, an idealist's dream.

The entire Universe and all that is in it is operating on a dualistic system of love and hate, cold and heat, peace and war, black and white etc and all the shades in between.

This diversity is what makes the Mayic dream so interesting. Life would be terribly boring and virtually cease to exist if everything was white.

Simply put, to sit in a movie watching a film without action heroes and villains and without color and various shadings would not hold our interest very long. The nature of the world is diversity. We in fact are in a great movie (Maya) and like an audience watching bloodshed and suffering on the screen, can return home with not another thought about it, should be able to transcend the attachment to the feelings we have about this great Mayic film, the Iraq war.

We will in fact, when we have a transcending experience which will lift our perception in the same way Pi had his raised, view the same scene in an harmonious way, giving a sense of belonging to the whole.

Some people may absolutely detest President Bush - in fact I have heard such remarks, and some people feel that he has been history's right man for this time. I have heard remarks like that too. This kind of thinking is all too personal for my tastes as I see the balance and harmony in the cosmos. The mere fact that I may have my life disrupted by emotional upset at seeing children and innocents killed, or having to pay extra money for gas is just setting myself apart from the whole drama. Remember that same drama, for those people involved in it, is more a case of having loved ones die before them and living through the horror of war. Nonetheless according to Yoga it is all a mayic illusion.

"The sooner you transcend your own ego and unite with Atman, the sooner you will see the harmony in ALL of life."

For those that have not read the Bhagavad-Gita, The Life of Pi or Karma Yoga by Vivekananda, try and get a hold of the books.

To sum up, in the words of the Bhagavad-Gita, a "true devotee":

"He who is beyond excitement and repulsion, who complains not and lusts not for things, who remains unmoved by good and evil fortune, and who has love..." (From the Life of Pi)