There are demonstrations all over the country against particular kinds of war, against nuclear destruction. There are pros and cons. The politicians talk about defence, but actually there is no defence; there is only war, there is only killing millions of people. This is rather a difficult situation. It is a great problem which man is facing. One side wants to expand in its own way, the other is aggressively pushing, selling arms, bringing about certain definite ideologies and invading lands.
Man is now posing a question he should have put to himself many years ago, not at the last moment. He has been preparing for wars all the days of his life. Preparation for war seems unfortunately to be our natural tendency. Having come a long way along that path we are now saying: what shall we do? What are we human beings to do? Actually facing the issue, what is our responsibility? This is what is really facing our present humanity, not what kinds of instruments of war we should invent and build. We always bring about a crisis and then ask ourselves what to do. Given the situation as it is now, the politicians and the vast general public will decide with their national, racial, pride, with their fatherlands and motherlands and all the rest of it.
The question is too late. The question we must put to ourselves, in spite of the immediate action to be taken, is whether it is possible to stop all wars, not a particular kind of war, the nuclear or the orthodox, and find out most earnestly what are the causes of war. Until those causes are discovered, dissolved, whether we have conventional war or the nuclear form of war, we will go on and man will destroy man.
So we should really ask: what are essentially, fundamentally, the causes of war? See together the true causes, not invented, not romantic, patriotic causes and all that nonsense, but actually see why man prepares to murder legally – war. Until we research and find the answer, wars will go on. But we are not seriously enough considering, or committed to, the uncovering of the causes of war. Putting aside what we are now faced with, the immediacy of the issue, the present crisis, can we not together discover the true causes and put them aside, dissolve them? This needs the urge to find the truth.
Why is there, one must ask, this division – the Russian, the American, the British, the French, the German and so on – why is there this division between man and man, between race and race, culture against culture, one series of ideologies against another? Why? Why is there this separation? Man has divided the earth as yours and mine – why? Is it that we try to find security, self-protection, in a particular group, or in a particular belief, faith? For religions also have divided man, put man against man – the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews and so on. Nationalism, with its unfortunate patriotism, is really a glorified form, an ennobled form, of tribalism. In a small tribe or in a very large tribe there is a sense of being together, having the same language, the same superstitions, the same kind of political, religious system. And one feels safe, protected, happy, comforted. And for that safety, comfort, we are willing to kill others who have the same kind of desire to be safe, to feel protected, to belong to something. This terrible desire to identify oneself with a group, with a flag, with a religious ritual and so on, gives us the feeling that we have roots, that we are not homeless wanderers. There is the desire, the urge, to find one’s roots.
And also we have divided the world into economic spheres, with all their problems. Perhaps one of the major causes of war is heavy industry. When industry and economics go hand in hand with politics they must inevitably sustain a separative activity to maintain their economic stature. All countries are doing this, the great and the small. The small are being armed by the big nations – some quietly, surreptitiously, others openly. Is the cause of all this misery, suffering, and the enormous waste of money on armaments, the visible sustenance of pride, of wanting to be superior to others?
It is our earth, not yours or mine or his. We are meant to live on it, helping each other, not destroying each other. This is not some romantic nonsense but the actual fact. But man has divided the earth, hoping thereby that in the particular he is going to find happiness, security, a sense of abiding comfort. Until a radical change takes place and we wipe out all nationalities, all ideologies, all religious divisions, and establish a global relationship – psychologically first, inwardly before organizing the outer – we shall go on with wars. If you harm others, if you kill others, whether in anger or by organized murder which is called war, you, who are the rest of humanity, not a separate human being fighting the rest of mankind, are destroying yourself.
This is the real issue, the basic issue, which you must understand and resolve. Until you are committed, dedicated, to eradicating this national, economic, religious division, you are perpetuating war, you are responsible for all wars whether nuclear or traditional.
This is really a very important and urgent question: whether man, you, can bring about this change in yourself – not say. ‘If I change, will it have any value? Won’t it be just a drop in a vast lake and have no effect at all? What is the point of my changing?’ That is a wrong question, if one may point out. It is wrong because you are the rest of mankind. You are the world, you are not separate from the world. You are not an American, Russian, Hindu or Muslim. You are apart from these labels and words, you are the rest of mankind because your consciousness, your reactions, are similar to the others. You may speak a different language, have different customs, that is superficial culture – all cultures apparently are superficial – but your consciousness, your reactions, your faith, your beliefs, your ideologies, your fears, anxieties, loneliness, sorrow and pleasure, are similar to the rest of mankind. If you change it will affect the whole of mankind.
This is important to consider – not vaguely, superficially – in enquiring into, researching, seeking out, the causes of war. War can only be understood and put an end to if you and all those who are concerned very deeply with the survival of man, feel that you are utterly responsible for killing others. What will make you change? What will make you realize the appalling situation that we have brought about now? What will make you turn your face against all division – religious, national, ethical and so on? Will more suffering? But you have had thousands upon thousands of years of suffering and man has not changed; he still pursues the same tradition, same tribalism, the same religious divisions of ‘my god’ and ‘your god’.
The gods or their representatives are invented by thought; they have actually no reality in daily life. Most religions have said that to kill human beings is the greatest sin. Long before Christianity, the Hindus said this, the Buddhists said it, yet people kill in spite of their belief in god, or their belief in a saviour and so on; they still pursue the path of killing. Will the reward of heaven change you or the punishment of hell? That too has been offered to man. And that too has failed. No external imposition, laws, systems, will ever stop the killing of man. Nor will any intellectual, romantic, conviction stop wars. They will stop only when you, as the rest of humanity, see the truth that as long as there is division in any form, there must be conflict, limited or wide, narrow or expansive, that there must be struggle, conflict, pain. So you are responsible, not only to your children, but to the rest of humanity. Unless you deeply understand this, not verbally or ideationally or merely intellectually, but feel this in your blood, in your way of looking at life, in your actions, you are supporting organized murder which is called war. The immediacy of perception is far more important than the immediacy of answering a question which is the outcome of a thousand years of man killing man.
The world is sick and there is no one outside you to help you except yourself. We have had leaders, specialists, every kind of external agency, including god – they have had no effect; they have in no way influenced your psychological state. They cannot guide you. No statesman, no teacher, no guru, no one can make you strong inwardly, supremely healthy. As long as you are in disorder, as long as your house is not kept in a proper condition, a proper state, you will create the external prophet, and he will always be misleading you. Your house is in disorder and no one on this earth or in heaven can bring about order in your house. Unless you yourself understand the nature of disorder, the nature of conflict, the nature of division, your house, that is you, will always remain in disorder, at war.
It is not a question of who has the greatest military might, but rather it is man against man, man who has put together ideologies, and these ideologies, which man has made, are against each other. Until these ideas, ideologies, end and man becomes responsible for other human beings, there cannot possibly be peace in the world.