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India-Gods's Abode

When Children Play with Swords and Pistols

Q: Because all the tendencies of the children come into play when they are given enough free scope, several difficulties arise, especially in controlling the noise and movements they make. A few days ago, they began to make swords and pistols out of meccano. So, in a general way, when these things come up, when the children are engaged in this kind of activity, should we intervene, or wait until the movement dies down and disappears?

You should... you should question the children and ask them in an off-hand way, “Oh, you have enemies? Who are these enemies?”... That is what you should say.... You should make them talk a little.... It is because they see that... There is a strength and a beauty in the army which children feel strongly. But that should be preserved. Only, armies should be used not to attack and capture but to defend and... protect. First you must understand properly: for the moment, we are in a condition where weapons are still necessary. We have to understand that this is a passing condition, not final, but that we must move towards that. Peace - peace, harmony - should be the natural result of a change of consciousness.... You see, there is this idea of non-violence about India, which has replaced material violence by moral violence - but that is far worse! You should make them understand this.... You can say this, explain to the children that to replace physical violence, material violence, by moral violence, is no better. Lying down in front of a train to prevent it from passing is a moral violence which can create more disturbances than physical violence. You... can you hear me? But it depends on the child, it depends on the case. You must not give any names, say what this or that person has said. We must make them understand ideas and reactions. You should... That is a good example: you should make them understand that lying down in front of a train to prevent it from passing is as great a violence... even greater than attacking it with weapons. You understand, there are many, many things that could be said. It depends on the case.

I myself encouraged fencing a great deal because it gives a skill, a control of one’s movements and a discipline in violence. At one time I encouraged fencing a great deal, and then too, I learned to shoot. I used to shoot with a pistol, I used to shoot with a rifle because that gives you a steadiness and skill and a sure-sightedness that is excellent, and it obliges you to stay calm in the midst of danger. I don’t see why all these things... One must not be hopelessly non-violent - that makes characters that are... soft! You should have taken the opportunity to tell them, “Oh, you should learn fencing!” And a pistol too?

Q: Yes, Mother.

And tell them... teach them to shoot... make it into an art, into an art and into a training of calm and self-controlled skill. One should never... never raise hue and cry.... That will not do at all, at all, at all. I am not at all in favour of that. The methods of self-defence should be mastered, and for that they must be practised.

-The Mother
(Ibid. Vol. 12,pp.436-39)