Saturday, October 28, 2006

Learning lessons of the battlefield with Arjuna

Moore's column for September-October 2006, "Spiritual Wars", is available in the archive area of Spirituality & Health. Moore focuses on America's current war involvements while mentioning a story from Hinduism:
"It seems easier to kill thousands of people, the innocent as well as the violent, than to face our own gross biases and ignorance. In the Bhagavad Gita, that powerful book of instruction on how to be a person, Krishna tells Arjuna that if he wins on the actual battlefield, he will gain the earth. If he loses, he will gain heaven. Arjuna has to come a long way to understand that paradox.

America has accomplished a great deal for the human soul and spirit in its brief existence, but in many ways it is like Arjuna at the beginning of his lessons. He's confused about where the real battle takes place and what it means to win and lose. America has fought too many wars and still believes that the killing of children and their mothers and brothers is justified and even virtuous when there is an enemy to annihilate. There is no Krishna on the horizon to instruct us in the subtleties of the spiritual life, no one to convince us that victory is always defeat.

We think that it is weakness to avoid the actuality of bloodshed, that patriotism means having a human enemy other than ourselves. Currently, America seems to be picking fights, wanting blood, finding glory in having an enemy with a foreign face. But all of this literalism, this acting-out of what should be spiritual struggle over narcissistic passions, shows how far we have to go before we truly discover the meaning of spirituality."
His offering in the current issue, "The Spirituality in Leadership," will be available near the end of the year to readers who register (free) on the Spirituality & Health site.