What is Satyagraha – A Parable
What is satyagraha, or truth force?
A Buddhist parable
“While a small bird attempts to save a burning forest, engaged in a seemingly futile mission, she flies back and forth from the river dripping water from her beak. As the lone bird is running out of energy, the Buddhist gods, representing a compassionate function in the universe, see her desperate efforts and are so moved by her sincerity that they begin to cry. The “rain” of their tears extinguishes the fire and the forest survives.”
Among other things, this helps show why it is so important that peace “activists” adhere to the principle of non-violence–not just in actions, but in speech. The bird’s efforts in the parable are efficacious because they elicit compassion by the “gods”. Here we may understand the gods to be the elements of compassion in the depths of the souls of other people, individually or perhaps, in some mysterious way, collectively. The bird does not elicit compassion if it chants “Impeach the president!”, etc.