In our previous article, we briefly touched upon the subject of “Terrorism”. What is Terror? Who can be termed as Terrorist? Who can be Terrorized and how?

Our First Question is: What is Terror?
In my opinion, Terror is born of Fear. It is born out of Fear. And, that answers our Second Question, that is: Who can be termed as Terrorist? The answer is: A Fearful Person.

Our Third Question: Who can be Terrorized and how? Those who are Fearful, they can be very easily Terrorized. How? By giving stimuli to the Fear within them, and bringing it to the surface.

So, terror, terrorism, terrorist – all of these can be jointly termed as Fear & Company. None of them can exist without fear. If this point is properly understood, we can easily deal with terrorism. How? By being Fearless – it is as simple as that. A Fearless person can never be terrorized. And, if the so called “Terrorist” fails to terrorize you, then he loses his very existence as terrorist. He is no more a terrorist. He is unable to perform as one.

And, once a terrorist ceases to be a terrorist – he is reduced to a common criminal. He is simply a street criminal. Yes, he can still throw bombs, he can still harm you – but he can no longer terrorize you.

I have been thinking very deeply on the subject and I come to a conclusion that, “I can stop terrorism by refusing to be terrorized.” Then, those terrorists no longer exist for me. I shall deal with them as I would deal with any other criminal. They are just ordinary criminals.

My refusal to be terrorized comes from understanding The Fear Factor. I began by asking myself: In which part of my being does this Fear exist? And, I found out that it existed in my mind. It expresses itself through my brain. This understanding made it easy for me to deal with Fear. It existed in my mind, so I had to deal with my mind – my own mind, nobody else’s.

But, how do I deal with mind?
Suddenly, I realized that it was my mind that gave me cue to deal with mind. After that point, my work became easy. I just had to befriend my mind to get more cues. You would ask me who was this “I” that must befriend the mind? I did ask myself too, and I found out that beyond the mind, there existed another faculty – that of Consciousness. I delved deep into Consciousness, and I found layers upon layers of my being….. It was like exploring the skies, the skies within….. At that point mind became still, and I could see it in and out. It was all clear, a Clear Mind. Who was the seer? It was me – I, The Consciousness.

Mind forms many questions, it gives rise to them and answers them. At times, it gets lost too. Delving into Consciousness was altogether a different experience. Very mysterious, and yet it did not give rise to a single question. As such, no answers were formed. There was no discussion. Just an experience, consciousness – that is all.

Coming out of the experience, I realized that there had been no fear as long as I was in the realm of consciousness – kind of my own domain. During those moments, I was completely out of fear. No worries, no anxieties, nothing…..

That was how I found the answer to terrorism. That was how I found the solution to deal with terrorist. Befriend with your mind, watch it, and go beyond it. Be in your realm, in the state of pure consciousness where fear no longer exists. And, without fear, terrorism can neither exist.

“Stop philosophizing,” says my friend, “tell me how to deal with the suicide-bombers at my own backyard. I am not afraid of them, alright, but they still pose a threat. They still want to harm me, my family, kill us.”

I had to apologize for I could not stop philosophizing. Without philosophy life would be dull, meaningless. It is philosophy that gives meaning to life – but what kind of philosophy? It is a philosophy that can be practiced. It is a practice that must involve not only my limbs, but my heart, my thoughts – all the different layers of my consciousness.

No, I cannot stop philosophizing.
Yes, I can stop talking about philosophy, for talk only without any action does not yield any result.

My philosophy is simple:
Mind gives rise to fear. Mind is full of questions and answers. Mind is full of doubts. Mind always gets into trouble. So, befriend your mind. Make it realize of its problems, offer a helping hand. Do not confront it. And then wait, just wait…. Wait until it gives you a “go-ahead” signal. And, that signal comes in the form of a cue, a cue on how to go beyond mind. Not only that, at that point your mind steps aside and allows you to touch the very Source of Consciousness that is beyond mind.

This, then, is the way to Fearlessness.
This is how you refuse to be terrorized, and the way to stop terror and terrorist activities.

Let us try to understand this:
As our minds are full of fear, so are the minds of so called terrorists. Fear is the bond between us, the sole factor connecting us. To break this bond, this connection – we must let go of our fear. The moment that is done, the bond is broken. The connection is cut.

“Do you really believe that the terrorists are full of fear?” a friend asks me.

I know what you mean. I know what you are trying to say. You watch their faces on your television screen, you see them smiling even laughing and yelling – and you feel they are not fearful. There is a very old saying, “Do not judge a book by its cover”. All that glitters is not gold either, friend. Their smile, laughter and yells are not real. They are trying to hide their fear behind them. The only thing real about them is their fear.

“But, what fear? What kind of fear?”
Fear of not being heard. Fear of not being paid attention, so they are stealing attention. They are forcing the television viewers to pay attention to them and their cause.

Actually, a criminal is afraid of himself, herself. That is his or her prime fear, the fundamental fear factor. When you are not confident of yourself, when you think you cannot convince others about your cause through dialogue – then you succumb to acts of violence. It is only when you are not strong enough, that you act violently. An act of violence only proves one’s weakness, a deep sense of helplessness and recklessness.

A terrorist, or in my term, a criminal, is a loser. He has lost his dignity as human being. It is quite different with a soldier fighting in the front. He is fighting for a very clear cause. Though his cause, at times, may not be justified. But, at least he is fighting for his nation. There are certain rules that he must follow. He cannot just kill anybody indiscreetly.

At times though, nations do break the rules and act in a violent and reckless manner. But, in that case the blame does not go to the soldiers fighting in the front. The blame entirely goes to the violent and reckless nation.

A terrorist often likes to identify himself or herself with a soldier fighting for a clear cause. Such identification is false, as false as their mentors’ identification with heads of state. As false as their organizations’ claims as if they represent the state.

A group of radicals and militants cannot be identified with a state. They do not help the state, any state. They do more harm than good. They also cannot represent a group of people, a group of civilians. Such representation is state’s prerogative.

These criminals that we call terrorists are a bunch of confused people. They are sort of uprooted people, they are sick. How could you otherwise explain the blowing of gigantic Buddha statues by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan? Those statues were part of their national cultural heritage. They bore witness to their glorious past, when their engineers, craftsmen and sculptors could jointly produce such pieces of art. They, of course, had a “religious” explanation to justify what they did. An explanation that defies common sense and does not take into account the sentiments and feelings of millions of Buddhists all over the world.

Deep in their hearts, I am sure, they too knew that the explanation given by them had not an iota of truth in it. Had that been the reason, they could have destroyed the statues immediately after taking over Afghanistan. Why did they wait for almost six years to put into effect a religious injunction? They destroyed those statues to steal world’s attention that had almost forgotten them. They behaved like little kids, albeit reckless – very reckless. And, they were full of fear. They feared isolation, although they repeatedly denied it. More so, since their sole supporter, the next door neighbor was under global pressure to withdraw its support from such terrorist groups. So, they did what they did.

Earlier, they had also supported their kind, their “kin”, in another act of heinous crime – that of hijacking an Indian commercial plane – and letting them land in the part of Afghanistan under their authority. As if that was not enough, they even allowed those criminals, those hijackers, to have a safe passage out of Afghanistan.

Why? Why did they do what they did? Because they felt they were unable to negotiate, to convince anybody through dialogue. They had no confidence in themselves. They had no confidence in their common sense, a gift from The Almighty. So, for each and everything, they would go back to “what is written”. Indeed, to “what they understood about what was written”.

They closed their minds and hearts to the fact that “not everything can be written”. The Almighty is just Too Big to be confined to letters and words. The Eternal Wisdom cannot be reduced to writing in its entirety. It is not a monopoly of a certain group of people and its limited understanding. And that is why, The Supreme One has bestowed human with mind, with intellect and intelligence, and brain as its tool. It is an insult to that Great Gift, if we do not make use of it.

A criminal, a violent person, a terrorist is insulting that Great Gift. He has turned into a zombie, a robot. More often than not, he is simply doing what he is told to do. He is part of an organization, where the head is very well secured. He is only in contact with a person one rank above him. And, he is trained not to use his mind, his brain. He is not supposed to even try to understand anything, leave aside question something. He is reduced to being a machine that has no intelligence of its own. Someone else is operating him, operating the machine that is him. A light press on the button would start him, and another press could stop him.

So, how do we deal with such people?
Hang them? Electrocute them? Kill them? Does that solve our problem? Does that solve our world’s problem? It does not, although at times a capital punishment could work as shock therapy. It could awake the others. It has its own short-term merit. But, it does not solve the problem.

The solution lies in transforming their minds; in strengthening their minds; in making them let go of their fear. The long-term solution lies in bringing about awareness within them, that an act of violence can only trigger a violent reaction. That way they cannot go beyond the vicious circle or cycle, whatever you call it.

A vicious circle can only be turned into a virtuous circle by refusing to answer violence with violence. I keep saying, the Palestinians would have their own state long back, had they followed a non violent method to combat the Israelis.

I firmly stand behind the struggle of the people of Palestine for their sovereignty. But I cannot justify the means they or at least some of them, have so far adopted. Such means are not helping them either.

What did Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other apostles of non-violence achieve – bear witness to the efficacy of their method.

But more on this later, in another article related to violence in my own country, in Indonesia.