June 22 2011 -QnA5

How can I be a non-violent person when I live in a neighborhood where if I don’t carry a gun with me I will be shot dead? What do I do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Violence does not mean self-protection nor does non-violence mean lack of self defense. You should be prepared for your self defense no doubt, but in your mind and heart you nurture non-violence. And you will see in the presence of non-violence, such strong non-violence, even violent people will drop their violent tendencies.

It has happened several times with me, when I was in Washington DC, another time in Los Angeles. On both occasions a gentleman wanted to attack me. He cursed me in the name of Jesus and said that this was all satanic, Yoga was satanic. As soon as he came, this tall hefty guy, I said, “Wait.” We didn’t have any weapons and we didn’t have any defense. He just went down on his knees and started crying. Everybody was so surprised, it was a satsang, like this, nobody expected a man to attack.
I just said, “Wait, wait,” and he bowed down and started crying. Later on he took the course.
You know, it is a misconception that could cause violence. It is stress and a sort of victimization that could cause violence. But when we believe in non-violence and we walk with that power in our hearts you will find a big change. There are so many such events.

A long time ago, I was in Delhi and Noida. Thousands of people came with torches to burn my car. I just showed my hand and said, “Wait okay, you can do whatever you want. I just want ten minutes to talk to you. But that’s it, in those ten minutes they all changed. In those days, in 1980, Noida was not developed, it was all a jungle, a village with dacoits. So we must believe in non-violence and I don’t mean you should not carry a weapon or learn self defense. Until you get so well established in non-violence you can have those arms, you can keep your self defense that is okay.