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15.  Two – See Your Adversary In A Whole New Way

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Seeing Your Adversary In A Whole New Way!

A Gandhi Vow:

“I believe that my adversary is also a child of the Creator a member of the same human family, a sister or a brother in need of reconciliation.”

Gandhi taught the people of India that it is natural to hate those who cause them suffering but he also warned them that hating the British would only increase that suffering. Gandhi believed the cure for hating their enemies is to see them in a whole new way. He taught them that their enemies are also children of the Creator. They are members of the same human family to which we belong. They are our sisters and brothers in need of reconciliation. They are victims of the same lies that they use to victimize us. Our task is not to kill them but to free them from those lies and to welcome them home.


Gandhi refused to hate the British soldiers who fired into crowds of nonviolent protesters and killed with impunity. Gandhi refused to hate the British Parliament who bound them with unjust laws and burdened them with unfair taxation. Gandhi refused to hate the judges [Indian and British] who enforced those laws or the revenue men who collected those taxes. Gandhi refused to hate the Viceroy appointed to rule over the Indian subcontinent and to keep India a part of the British Kingdom at any price. With all their power, the haters were defeated by those who did not hate them.


Martin Luther King, Jr. refused to hate Governor Wallace or Sheriff Bull Conner or the other corrupt politicians, judges, and police who falsely imprisoned, tortured and murdered his sisters and brothers. Martin Luther King Jr. refused to hate the Ku Klux Klan dressed in white, terrorizing, kidnapping, lynching and murdering African-Americans and their white allies. Martin Luther King Jr. even refused to hate Malcom X and other black leaders who condemned nonviolence and called King a “Religious Uncle Tom.” Once again the haters were defeated by those who refused to hate them.


When we see our enemies in this whole new way, it is easier not to hate them but to help free them from the lies that have victimize us as well and welcome them home.


Do you have any enemies?

Do you hate them?

How is that helping you?

How is that changing them?

Is it possible for you to see your enemies as your brother or sister who is a victim of untruth as you have been?

Could you love your enemies?



Credo: Seeing Our Adversary In A Whole New Way!


1. I believe that my adversary is also a child of the Creator a member of the same human family, sisters and brothers in need of reconciliation.

“For a non-violent person the whole world is one family.”

The Satyagrahi who is conscious of the working of soul-force and of his own spiritual kinship with the opponent, should treat the opponent as a member of his family.”

“I must apply the same rules to the wrong-doer who is my enemy as I would to my wrong-doing father or son.”


2. I believe that my adversary is not my enemy but a victim of misinformation as I have been.

“I wear the same corruptible flesh that the weakest of my fellow beings wears and am, therefore, as liable to err as any.”xlix “Courage comes from the belief that God sits in the hearts of all. The knowledge of the omnipotence of God also means respect for the lives of even those who may be called opponents.”


3. I believe that my only task is to bring my adversary truth in love (nonviolence) relentlessly.

“The silent and undemonstrative action of truth and love produces far more permanent and abiding results than speeches or such other showy performances.”li“Nothing is more impressive or works a more effective spell than truth.


4. I believe that my adversary’s motives are as pure as mine and have no relevance to our discussion.

“No one is wicked by nature. And if others are wicked, are we the less so? That attitude is inherent in Satyagraha.

“My faith in the people [individuals] is boundless. Theirs is an amazingly responsive nature.”


5. I believe that even my worst adversary has an amazing potential for positive change.

“The soul is one in all. Its possibilities are the same for everyone.”

“To do full justice to the adversary a Satyagrahi must try to keep his mind in a detached state, understand the adversary’s point of view and, if needed revise his judgment.”


6. I believe that my adversary may have an insight into truth that I do not have.

“The way to treat the opponent as a member of the family is to give him the same credit for honest of purpose which the satyagrahi claims for himself.”

“I am essentially a man of compromise because I am never sure that I am right.”


7. I believe that one day my adversary and I will understand each other and that if we conduct our search for truth guided by the principles of love, we will find a new position to satisfy us both.

“The whole conception of satyagraha rests on the psychological assumption that the innate goodness of the most brutal opponent can be aroused by the pure suffering of a truthful man.”

“The satyagrahi fights with a view to bilateral and not unilateral victory. He aims at the integration and not suppression of legitimate differences.”


8. I believe that there is no need to fear death even if my opponent kills me while I am attempting to bring him/her the truth.

“Let us fear God and we shall cease to fear man…Those who defy death are free from fear…All the fears revolve around the body as center and would disappear as soon as one got rid of attachment for the body…To develop non-attachment we must conquer our passions, the internal foes.”

Which of the above beliefs are most difficult for you to accept?


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