His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh’s message to the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders
Nothing good comes from war. War does not discriminate. It kills good people, peace-loving people, as well as those who are evil. All our prophets have stressed peace.
To remove a few bad people, you will destroy a whole country and perhaps the world. To rid yourself of one bad person, you would kill countless children and parents. Think of the cries of the orphans for their parents; think of the cries of the parents for their children. There are always bad people in the world. But to remove them you don’t need to kill everyone. Many good, peace-loving, innocent people also live in their country.
Innocent people are always killed in greater numbers than the clever ones who are responsible for creating terrorism or rebellion. In any conflict, the innocent are killed, whereas the creators of the problem go safely in their flag-decorated cars and sleep peacefully at night in their homes. The trouble-makers are never eliminated easily, whereas the innocent face great sufferings. Use the latest technology and policies to find such culprits and destroy the roots of the problem. Otherwise, the innocent children, women, and elderly people may be killed while the root of the evil may persist and grow into a tree. While the masterminds behind the evil plans sit safely in their houses and make further plans, thousands of innocent people will die. The crying of their loved ones will never let you live peacefully.
Power is given to be used for good.
Having such great power does not mean that one should attack all the smaller powers simply to teach them a lesson. If a child steals something, you do not kill him. You do not need such a large measure to solve a small problem. If you resort to such measures, then what is the difference between you and the one that you claim is seeking aggression and endangering the world? To stop a thief you do not resort to thievery yourselves. You find a way to stop the stealing. Find a way to stop the cruelty; do not destroy the whole country.
History shows that Hitler targeted the Jews. He slaughtered millions of innocent children. What was their fault? Is this the way today’s superpowers are also to be remembered? Do not take an action that you will later regret.
In the face of your power, where can the evildoer go? Gather the nations together. Have a meeting and determine that you will limit his actions. He will not be able to stand against you. All conflicts are ultimately settled by negotiations anyway. Why not sit down and resolve the conflict peacefully? Why are you so eager to wage war?
Nothing good results from putting undo pressure on someone. God will take the side of the weak, and others will take advantage of the situation. Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Guru, said that the public are God’s people and anyone who tries to put pressure on them will never get God’s blessings. Instead they will meet with God’s anger.
A rich person has no need to show off his wealth. Only the poor dress up to impress others. You need not make a statement. You need not display your weaponry for the world to know your power. The whole world recognizes you.
Eliminating Terrorism – history – 600 years of attacks Lessons from Sikh
India was continually subjected to terrorist attacks from Afghanistan from the 10th thru 17th centuries that threatened to destroy its culture and civilization. Sikhs played historic roles in stopping these invasions, and their religious principles may be useful in stopping terrorism today. While they instilled fear in terrorists they never destroyed a village or hurt innocent people. Although the terrorists operated under the banner of religion, they did not make any distinction between the treasures or women of Hindus or Muslims. Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Guru witnessed Babar’s 16th century invasion and sang sadly: "For wealth are vast multitudes dishonoured." [Guru Granth Sahib 417].
The Guru sought to restore peace and justice to the strife-torn country. Guru Nanak traveled on foot from India through Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia spreading the message of peace, meeting with both rulers and the common people. Guru Nanak taught that everyone should work hard and take care of his family. He should never commit any cruelty, never capture anyone else’s property, and never feel any fear. To develop social equality one should share one’s earnings with others, thanking the Almighty and reciting God’s Holy Name. His Sikhs created such an atmosphere that many Afghans who had attacked India began to settle and work in Punjab.
Khalsa, the Defenders of the Weak
Despite Guru Nanak’s message, the invasions continued until Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Sikh Guru, transformed the downtrodden people into brave defenders of justice. When he instilled his spiritual power in them, they overcome their fear and became such a powerful force that they stood to protect every home, every community, and took responsibility for safeguarding the whole country. If anyone tried to invade, the Khalsa at once confronted them bravely, disarmed them, rescued the women, recovered the stolen property, and drove them away. They acted according to strict principles laid down by Guru Gobind Singh. They never attacked women, never attacked people while they were sleeping, and would not attack anyone unless the others had first attacked them twice.
The Guru created Khalsa to protect everyone. They uprooted terrorism by creating fear in the attackers. At the same time they develop spirituality and righteousness within them.
During the nineteenth century reign of the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Afghans were defeated, but Maharaja Ranjit Singh never took over their country. He allowed them to live in peace and practice their own religion. Not only that: He built a mosque adjoining his palace for the Muslim subjects.
Nuclear war–Is it worth risking the future of civilization to rid yourselves of one enemy?
A nuclear war is a terrible thing. It continues to spread, poisoning everything in its path. The nuclear bomb is so powerful that it will not only kill people but also destroy the environment. It is not a question of one country—air knows no boundaries. A nuclear conflict will poison the entire atmosphere. Animals, and trees, and crops will suffer, not to mention all the innocent human beings. These weapons were meant for defense; do not use them to destroy another country.
By using such powerful weapons, you risk destruction of all the years of progress that civilization has made. All the benefits that science has developed, all the benefits of medicine and improved technology, can be wiped out by your single action. Step back and think: Is this what you really want?
Spiritual Approach to Ending Terrorism
We cannot reply to terrorism with terrorism. Terrorism will only spread. Paul attacked Jesus’s followers. When Jesus appeared to him in vision, he became a great saint and spread Jesus’s message. Similarly, Umar came to cut off the head of the Prophet Muhammad, but when he encountered the Prophet’s radiant gaze and listened to him, he became his devoted servant and ultimately his caliph. Hazrat Ali said that when one becomes angry, he is no longer carrying on the jihad of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad never said to kill innocent people. He was so merciful that when he returned to Mecca, he called for those who had earlier stoned him and ordered that they should be given the most valuable horses. He explained that they were his real friends, for they tested him in seeing how much he loved God.
Who Are the Real Enemies of Islam?
Some terrorists have stated that there is a threat to Islam. In fact, they have created it. The Prophet Mohammed states that a kafir is one who destroys justice. By that definition, terrorists operating in the name of Islam are the real kafirs, the real enemies of Islam. What was the fault of the people in the World Trade Center? A true Muslim would never kill innocent people. Those who have true faith in their prophets never fight with others. They respect the prophet of every religion and settle conflicts by discussion. We cannot bring peace by anger. It is necessary to bring coolness, tolerance, and contentment.
Spread Peace, not War
I appeal to you to control your mind. Now you are riding a wild horse, for your mind is not under control. This is no good, for it will throw you down. Find and eliminate the evil, but at the same time, be very cautious not to harm and kill innocents.
The message for evildoers everywhere is this: Beware of God, for those innocent people whom you are killing for no reason will not only knock on God’s door. They will enter that door, and then you will be punished very heavily by the Almighty.
Think about a solution to the problem, a solution by which innocent beings are not killed. Our ultimate goal should be to spread peace and allow people to live happily. We should enjoy this beautiful Creation of the Creator and let other people enjoy it, too—its beautiful trees, its mountains, its grasses, its fresh air and clean water. We should not blacken it and earn God’s anger forever.