Transformation – the only antidote to terrorism

Media Watch

“Terrorism is not in bombs or weapons, it is in our unconsciousness,” states Prem Naina. Published in The Sentinel, Assam, on May 23, 2019.

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“Terrorism is not in the bombs, in your hands; the terrorism is in your unconscious. It seems all kinds of blind people have bombs in their hands and are throwing them at random. Individual violence will increase – it is increasing. And all your governments and all your religions will go on perpetuating the old strategies without understanding the new situation. The new situation is that every human being needs to go through therapies, needs to understand his unconscious intentions, needs to go through meditations so that he can calm down, become cool – and look towards the world with a new perspective, of silence.”¹ – Osho

What is terrorism? Is it just related to the obsession of religious fanatics or is it something more? Common usage of these terms – “terrorism” and “terrorist” (someone who engages in terrorism) – carry strong negative connotations. These terms are often used as political labels to condemn violence or threat of violence by certain actors as immoral, indiscriminate, unjustified or to condemn an entire segment of a population. Those labelled “terrorists” rarely identify themselves as such, and typically use other euphemistic terms or terms specific to their situation, such as separatist, freedom fighter, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerrilla, rebel, or any similar-meaning word in other languages and cultures. Jihadi, Mujahideen, and Fedayeen are similar Arabic words that have entered the English lexicon. (Courtesy-Wikipedia)

Terrorism is not new, though it has come in a new incarnation. Throughout our history, invaders like the Huns, Tamerlane, Nadir Shah, Mahmood Gaznavi, to Hitler, Stalin, Mao, all are part of a chain of terrorists. The major difference is now that terrorism is no longer limited to a particular area or a geographical territory. It has become globalized. Now everyone in the world feels threatened and terrorized.

Terrorism is an ideological violence essentially rooted in unconscious human behaviour. It shows its heinous form when governed by hypnotic conditioning. Osho points out, “Terrorism is not in the bombs, in your hand, terrorism is in your unconscious.”¹ Religion, in most cases, has proven to be a triggering factor and has consequently reigned terror on men, women, and children. Ironically, more often than not, religion has taken God for a ride and has sold ideology around it with force, often brutally.

Existing nuclear and biological weapons have placed humanity at grave risk. Hence, in the context of our present day-to-day reality, how do we keep human life free from terrorism? How do we transform the energy used for terrorism into tranquillity? The first need obviously is to get out of the trap of dogmatic, blind following of religion. We will need to bring more celebration in our life – more joy, more laughter. A happy person can never become a terrorist. We will have to move from Gun Culture to Fun Culture. Life is not a problem to be solved by violent means; it is indeed a gift to be shared by living joyously.

What we need in essence is a pledge to make this world for our future generation a better place to live and enjoy. First, we need to make a conscious commitment to be free of all conditionings, patterns of belief and behaviour, trappings of de-humanizing ideologies. Further, we need to help our children remain free from all that which breeds hatred, violence, prejudice, aggression.

Osho says, “Terrorism is not in the bombs, in your hands; the terrorism is in your unconscious. The situation is that every human being needs to go through therapies, needs to understand his unconscious intentions, needs to go through meditations so that he can calm down, become cool – and look towards the world with a new perspective – of silence.”¹

Terrorism simply means that what was being done on a social scale is now being done individually. It continues to grow and can only be prevented if the very base of human understanding can be changed, which is a Himalayan task; more so because these same people who need change will fight and oppose to the extreme. In fact, they love bloodshed; they don’t have the courage to say so.

In one of the existentialists’ novels, there is a beautiful incident which can almost be said to be true.

A man is presented before the court because he has killed a stranger who was sitting on the beach. He had never seen the stranger. He did not kill him for money and does not even know how that man looked, because he killed him from the back. They had never met so there was no question of enmity. They had not even seen each other’s faces. The magistrate was puzzled and he asked the murderer, “Why did you do it?” The murderer replied, “When I stabbed that man with a knife, and a fountain of blood came out of his back, that was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever known. I know that the price will be my death, but I am ready to pay for it; it was worth it. My whole life I have lived in boredom; no excitement, no adventure. Finally, I had to decide to do something. This act has made me world-famous; my picture is in every newspaper. I am perfectly happy that I did it.”

Killing hundreds without warning, injuring hundreds more, destroying property and spreading horror, panic, and fear, terrorists know no boundaries, no religion.

Who is a terrorist? General Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar? Or Bhagat Singh, the freedom fighter? Guerrilla leader Fidel Castro or the corrupt and unpopular Batista regime in Cuba? Or President John Kennedy who approved the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba? Kenya’s Mau Mau terrorists in the 1950s? Or the Colonial Government who hunted and killed hundreds of thousands of them, later called ‘freedom fighters’?

Osho says terrorism has many undercurrents. The event of terrorism is certainly related to what is happening in society. The society is falling apart. Its old order, discipline, morality, religion, everything has been found to be wrongly based. It has lost its power over people’s conscience.

Osho has envisioned the present-day menace three (ed.) decades ago when he shared, “Until we change the basic grounds of humanity, terrorism is going to become more and more a normal, everyday affair. It will happen in airplanes, it will happen in buses. It will start happening in cars.”¹

This is exactly what is happening around the world today because till now we are awaiting a change, a change in understanding of each individual for humanity to live in peace. A change in the basic understanding of the roots of terror and terrorism has become inevitable.

Osho suggests a remedy: “Violence erupts again and again because of the wrong teaching, which is based on repression. Whenever you repress something, it will come up again and again. I teach you awareness, not repression. That’s why I don’t talk about non-violence. I don’t say, “Don’t be violent.” I only say, “Be alert, be aware!” Whatsoever you are doing, do it with such care, with such meditativeness, that you are absolutely there, in it, involved; that you are not just making some empty gestures. Your presence is there – and that very presence brings an alchemical change. You will never repress, you will never sit on a volcano. The more you become aware, the more your life will attain to silence, peace, love. They are by-products of awareness.”²

Quotes by Osho from
¹ Beyond Psychology, Ch 18, Q 1 – read the whole question in: Terrorism is Going to Become Bigger and Bigger
² Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1, Ch 7, Q 1


Naina is a writer and Head of Communications at Solidaridad Network Asia.

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