New Delhi Gang-Rape: Will Stricter Laws Deter Rapists?

02/11/2013 12:13 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2013

When somebody perpetrates a violent act, they need to be punished. But still, we want a better society not just better laws. A law or a punishment is only relevant after things have gone wrong; hanging somebody is still not going to fix anybody's life. There may be no absolute fix, but we can definitely lower the percentages of these violent incidents. There may never be an ideal society where no such things happen, but striving towards that possibility is what is most important.

Suppose 20 percent of the population is committing crimes. Realistically, you cannot punish 20 percent of the population. If it is one percent you may punish them, but not 20 percent. Those who are for punishment think it is a deterrent. To some extent it may be, but for most it is not -- they will just try to do it more carefully. And because they have taken more precautions, the level of violence may go down a little bit. But still, what is happening in one's mind and how it translates into life is the next step. It is happening in your mind means that when there is an opportunity, it will happen in reality.

Right now, there are a number of rape video games that are very popular. These are video games commercially sold -- bought in millions. Secretly, people are playing these games in their homes and offices. We are nurturing a sick world. This time, it happened on a bus in the capital city, so it is big news. The whole country and the media are on. Attention was needed for this, but if it happened in a village or a small town, it would be just one more statistic, or it would not even become a statistic because nobody reports such things.

There is a lot of introspection that humanity has to do. One particular case of rape has brought the consciousness of India to a certain brink. Using this, it is time that we look at the essentials of life. Whether the crime, violence or forceful acts are committed against a woman, man or child it is the same thing. One is not different from the other. If we approve of one forceful act, another kind will naturally evolve out of it. This is how it starts. If you think you can force feed your child, if you think that force is okay as long as you get to do what you want to do, then everything else follows. These are the off-springs of that. We don't want to attend to or destroy the root cause of violence. Instead, we just want to prune the surface because right now it hurts us, but that is not a solution.

Whatever sympathies we may have for the person who has suffered, we must look for more profound solutions, more well thought out solutions. Reacting to violence with more violence is not going to bring forth the right kind of society. This is not happening in only one society, it is just that in some societies law enforcement may be a little better, so it is more contained. Yes, protection by law enforcement is needed, but still a transformation where law enforcement can be limited to a small percentage of criminals is the society we want to live in. We don't want a big segment of the population being curtailed by law enforcement alone -- if there is no policeman they will do something else. It is a dangerous situation to live in. Statistics say that most rapes happen within the four walls of the home. This cannot be contained by law.

The solution is not in just containing it. The solution is in the transformation of the individual human being. Unfortunately, nobody is willing to invest any time or life to make this happen. Everybody wants an instant solution. Going on the streets and protesting for two days will not change the world. If the world has to change, the first thing is willingness to invest time for your own transformation. Only if you are willing to invest time in your transformation will you be willing to invest time in other people's transformation because you understand the value of what it is. If you are not willing to invest time upon your own transformation, where is the question of doing anything for anybody's transformation? If you do not know the value of what it is experientially you will never invest.

Transformation means that who you are is not determined by other people's opinions or other people's presence. Humanity has to make an investment in this direction; if every parent invests in their children -- to transform them into a more inclusive human being where who they are is not limited to the absolute boundary of their physicality -- then the very way they walk and breathe -- the very way they exist on this planet will be different. If this one thing happens to a human being, suddenly he is different in every possible way. Investing in a spiritual possibility, a possibility beyond one's physicality is the only ultimate answer. If you want long-term benefits, you must make long-term investments.

But for now as an immediate deterrent the new laws bring some hope. Above all, speedy justice in special and fast track courts is a must. Women who have already gone through a horrific experience should not be put through the legal circus of adjournment and aborted justice.

Sadhguru will teach programs in London Feb. 9-10, 2013 and Atlanta April 19-21, 2013.

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