A Yogic Perspective on Violence


Spirit does not recognize color, gender, class, or nationality. Spirit sees only the heart and the energy that each individual radiates to the Whole—which includes the individual self, along with all else of life (plants, animals, other people, and the rest of nature).  

A couple of months ago, I was in India and asked my grandfather, a 95-year-old yogi, the following question: If he had to give one piece of advice to the next generation, what would it be? My grandfather replied, "Forget these labels of Indian, Pakistani, American, and relate to each other as human."  

"Yes," my soul responded, with relief, hope, and knowing.

Last week, my four-year-old daughter celebrated flag day at her American small town pre-school. As I watched her march with her Indian flag, my emotions were mixed. I love India, and I am happy to be of Indian descent. It is nice to connect with a community or a country and feel a sense of belonging—but not at the expense of separating myself from those of different ethnicities. 

"Yes," my soul responded, with relief, hope, and knowing.

That night, I came home and "randomly" chose words from the Indian philosopher, Krishnamurti. This is what I read: 

"When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. 

A man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind." 

Of course, reading these words was likely not random. There’s a good chance the universe was answering my inquiry. Spirit is constantly with us, responding to our every thought, but we need to be receptive, present, and available for the communication. A daily practice of steady, rhythmic movement, coupled with meditation, cultivates qualities of relaxation in body and mind that allow spirit to commune with Spirit.   

The practice of yoga is not, of course, owned by India and Tibet. Indigenous cultures around the world have cultivated practices of meditative movement, special diet, and open communication to heal the individual so that he/she can live in harmony with the Whole.  

Seek to relax all the ways in which you label and identify yourself. This will help you to strengthen your own unique and personal connection with the invisible world. You will likely see that Spirit is and always has been answering your every call.

About the Teacher

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Reema Datta
Reema Datta is an Indian-American Yogini, Mother, author and singer. Born into a family of yogis, Reema... Read more