India: Birthplace of the Doctrine of Ahimsa
This email might hit a nerve here and there, maybe more than a nerve. If I were sensible or perhaps simply politically correct, I might write on something else, but I feel a lot of pathos around the issue of finding a punishment that fits the crime. This being the New Year in Sri Lanka, a lunar eclipse evening, and the holy season for Christians, I thought I would weigh in and perhaps stimulate thought.
The system and those who constitute the pressure behind the system want to send a message to all people everywhere that rape will not be tolerated. The fact of the matter is that the definition of rape spans the gamut of consensual sex with a broken condom, the charge against Julian Assange, and the brutal rape leading to the premature death of an accompanied Indian woman who, until a fatal moment, had every reason to believe that her life was still in front of her. Except for the underage person, the others have been sentenced to death. They are to be hanged.
Frankly, I was astonished that India has not abolished capital punishment. I cannot imagine how controversial this sentence must be in a land in which some of the greatest achievements were attained through peaceful means, passive resistance, and social pressure to redress wrongs. Surely there are people who agree that the convicted rapists committed a really heinous crime. They are bastards, no doubt about it, but in sentencing the youngest one to three years in juvenile detention, the assumption is that he will somehow be reformed before his release. With recidivism what it is, that assumption might be questioned.
As you know, I fully embrace the doctrine of ahimsa. I am devoted to harmlessness in all areas of life. There were profound reasons for coming to this point myself. When I was about 30, my mother asked what happened to me age 12. I asked her to give me a hint or two about the actual question she was asking. She said, "When you were born, there was no green in your aura, but at 12, your aura changed."
I suppose this is a clue to life in a typical Scandinavian family. I have laughed with friends about similar experiences because the habit of silence is actually understood by us. We know that people know even if nothing is said. Well, what happened was that I was upset over the uneven treatment of my parents of me and my sister. I felt like they were more strict with me and careless with her. We were on a ship, and I remember the long white corridors of steel. I heard a voice saying that compassion is more important than justice.
Obviously this changed me and it was noted, at least by my Piscean mother. I would not have thought of compassion being green, but I would think that green might be associated with balance.
Years later, a client came to my house and shouted almost the minute he walked through the door. It was almost Christmas and there was were carols on the radio. He wanted the music turned off immediately. Another astrologer was there. She looked at him and said, "Let's get into this." He immediately went into a past life in which he was very attracted to the teachings of Jesus, but he was married and felt responsible for his wife and children, and he did not want to give up everything to follow Jesus. He was riddled with guilt over having chosen responsibility over spiritual persuasion.
Years earlier, I had witnessed a similar conflict within someone who interpreted forgiveness as lawlessness. If we forgive, we are implying — at least so some think — that there will be no consequences for asocial behavior. People with power usually act in a manner that suggests that the law cannot touch them, and, of course, it is possible to become rich and famous by preaching that no matter what one does or why, one can be forgiven. Actually, my work with past lives does not support this thesis, but let me tell you what I have seen.
First of all, sexual abuse leaves very deep and painful scars that bleed through into countless lifetimes. I have seen people who were emotionally crippled by events that should have been separated from the psyche by the changes we call death and rebirth. The reality, however, seems to be that Lethe does not lead to loss of memory much less oblivion. It's possible that the emotional responses to trauma are temporarily abandoned but recovered when next incarnating, but I do not actually have a window to the world where there are answers to this question. I spent many years with someone whose death in this life was traced to traumas in the Inquisition. The details of several subsequent lives had many points in common with the suffering in this life, but what happened in between the incarnations is not known.
The point here is that the part that suffers is always the victim. Maybe I should word this another way. The feminine, the yin, the emotional and somatic parts of ourselves retain memory and instinct and do not necessarily release that memory. Think of something simple in order to understand what is more complex. If you tell a child that fire is hot, the child might have to find out for himself or herself what hot is, but once the child knows, there is no reason to question whether other things that are hot also burn. Our memories have a purpose and we do not lose them. I have never been sure that this part of us can forgive. It is passive and cannot initiate actions so in all likelihood, the best that can happen is that the individual — and this is all of us, not just some abstract term for someone or anyone — will have new experiences that are better. Repeated new experiences can eventually lead to overwriting the damaged files in memory and this is what heals, not punishment or recrimination.
There is no doubt in my mind that all people who have been shocked by what happened to the victims in India would also be shocked when they realize how permanent the damage actually is. India is the land that has taught the concept of karma to the rest of the world, but now we have to question the whole story, not just the parts. I have no doubt that every individual who ever experienced any brutality or inferiority has felt something when reading the news, but now we look at the bastards who are to be hanged. Yes, the language is harsh because their deeds were despicable, but they too are on the wheel of rebirth. They will also die without hope or pity, and they will be reborn with tremendous fears. The obvious fears would be about tight things around their necks, but what about the hypocrisy of a society that allows people to grow up in demeaning circumstances from which there seems to be no prospect of escape. I am not saying that sociopathy is justified because the rapists were living in a torrid world. Other people sometimes find peace despite circumstances. I am not condoning anything, merely saying that my belief is that we are all destined for perfection. Some people will find it sooner than others. Hanging someone does not promote perfection. It sends a message to others that their inability to manage their hormones or their rage will not be tolerated, but it will not help the people in question to bring themselves into balance.
I also believe that life, even wretched lives, are divine. We have no right to take away another life. We have no right to go to war against others; we have no right to jeopardize lives with bioweapons; and we have no right to hang criminals. We can certainly isolate the most dangerous members of society. There might be islands or deserts where these people can be sent. I am not sure that people will repent. A few recognize that what they have done was horrific; some are apparently without consciences. Those who do not experience conscience cannot be trusted and probably cannot be rehabilitated because conscience functions in higher chakras. It is possible that some do not have functioning higher chakras, but while I can see this and sense the ramifications, I cannot myself contribute to the punishment for deeds done to others.
It will be interesting to see how the international community responds. For example, Norway does not have capital punishment and the maximum time someone can be sent to prison is twelve years, even mass murderers. In the U.S., one can have a series of contiguous sentences that more than span the life of a human, but what now about India? What is the role of India to be? Taking a stand against rape is one thing. Standing up for the rights of women is another thing. Combining wisdom with justice will challenge the very soul of humanity.
This is the Easter season. Christians around the world will gather and re-enact the deaths of three men on a hill two thousand years ago. We have symbolized these men as unrepentant, repentant, and Christed. When the spirit is born in an incarnate individual, the body is made whole. This is the deepest level on which true healing can occur. There are so many accounts of what happened, may have happened, or may not have happened on Easter during the reign of Pontius Pilate. What we do know is that Christianity, like many other religions, has always preached forgiveness.
However, I am not arguing at all for forgiveness. I agree that a message needs to be sent around the world, and around and around and around, that no form of abusive behavior is acceptable. I am only asking that we consider all the ramifications of our thoughts and deeds and that we seek the way that will bring humanity into alignment with divinity. That is what will ultimately save us from each other.
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2002, 2006, 2009, 2014