Fear neither War nor Death

From Bhakti Yoga Sagar, Volume 5 by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

No culture, no civilization should be afraid of war or fear death. Only cowards and slaves talk about non-violence. Death is unavoidable. If you die on the battlefront, it brings you glory. You can also die of diabetes, blood pressure or heart disease on a hospital bed, ignobly. The Lord told Arjuna, "You must fight. If you are killed, you will go to heaven. If you are victorious, you will rule over the empire. But fight you must!" Don't talk about war, but don't fear war or death either. There is no point in criticizing war. Even if you condemn and criticize war, it will definitely take place. Don't close your eyes to the inevitable; the turning point of history is war. War changes cultures, war changes civilizations; the entire polarity changes. Don't be afraid of wars because you cannot stop them. Saints cannot stop them, for nature wants wars to happen. It is only after war that many civilizations, religions, cultures and political systems are consigned to the waste paper basket.

War is not a step backward; war is a step forward. Hundreds and thousands of people die, but death is no loss to humanity. Every death pays its own dividends in time. Death is inevitable, so why die in a hospital? Die on a battlefield. If you are victorious, you will enjoy a new society. If you are defeated, you are killed and God will take care of you.

I cannot accept this impotent idea. This is the language of impotent people. The Mahabharata war, the war between Rama and Ravana, and the First and Second World Wars took place because they had to take place. What is so great about death? In fact, what is great about birth? Insects, mosquitoes, dogs, cats and donkeys breed, and so do humans. Why do you try to avoid death which is unavoidable? Why do you lament over death? Even great thinkers and philosophers wail over death. Death should not cause grief. Death is the romance of life. One has to take death in one's stride.

I am especially addressing the Indians, who tend to make a big fuss over death. When a leper dies, it is reported in the newspapers, but what is so special about such a death? If a great spiritual guru dies, then the news deserves to appear in the papers. You must take care of your culture. Make your children valiant like Hanuman. Reciting Hanuman Chalisa will help. The irony is that children chant the name of Hanuman and are full of fight. Hanuman means fearlessness, strength in body, mind, intellect and many other ways. In Hanuman Chalisa it says:

Vidyaavaana gunee aati chaatura.
Raama kaaja karibe ko aatura.

Hanuman is erudite, talented, highly qualified and accomplished. He is ever eager to serve Sri Rama.

Do you know about Hanuman? He was a scholar, an erudite person. Gunee means qualified, like a chemical or electrical engineer. He was extraordinarily smart and clever. He would understand even before one tried to communicate. Therefore, Sri Rama made Hanuman his personal secretary, as Sri Rama himself was an extraordinary boss. Sri Rama calls Hanuman chatura shiromani – the crown jewel of astuteness. Why then has a culture which worships a brave, talented hero like Hanuman become so weak and powerless? A cripple dies in a family and all the members wail in grief. I would think, "Good, he has died and become free. In his next birth he will be born whole and into a better family. The house he lived in was infested with rats and insects; it was leaky and crumbling. In his next birth he will find himself a strong house, built of concrete. He has left this place for a better one." Death is like a change of body.

1 December 1997, Rikhiapeeth, India