Images of Velupillai Prabhakaran's young son eating biscuits (presumably in Sri Lankan military custody) and later lying dead on the ground shot through the chest, that were in the news yesterday were literally heartbreaking. When that initial shock and pain in the heart eased, many questions popped up. Is this news true? Why would they do something like this? How could anybody do something so cruel? What did this poor little boy do to deserve such a fate? The first question, while completely valid considering the credibility of today's media, does not have much bearing on the subject discussed here. For the next question, only the one who made the decision would know the answer (assuming the news is true) and so there's no use speculating. If we have seen anything of this world or at least read news papers the last few years, we'd know better than to ponder over the third question. It is the fourth question, that I want to consider in some detail in this post.
The fate of this boy cannot be understood except in the context of the bloody civil war that haunted the island nation for about a quarter of a century, before it ended in a conclusive victory for the republican forces of Sri Lanka. Even if we give them the benefit of doubt and assume that the Tigers were fighting for a just cause, their means were unquestionably violent and unjustifiable. As the founder and leader of this terrorist organization, Prabhakaran is directly responsible for the violence and suffering that an entire nation was put through. It has also been widely reported that the LTTE went to the extent of using civilians as human shield, holding children hostages and employing child soldiers. So, the death that Prabhakaran's son met with, was in fact a death that his father orchestrated for thousands of children. Prabhakaran having had no respect for human rights does not justify the brutal murder of his son, but the lesson in this for us is that hatred begets hatred, and violence only leads to more violence.
In India, it is often said that generations to come will have to pay the price for the sins committed by one man. This actually means that those who are born in the lineage of a sinner and suffer, seemingly on account of their ancestor, are souls who have themselves accrued similar Karma in the past, the fruits of which they reap in this life. It is our own actions that, through inscrutable divine principles, attract us into positions that offer the right conditions for the ripening of our Karmic fruits. The ways of Karma are so deep that if we try to link individual effects to their causes, we only end up getting deluded. This is not because the law is arbitrary or wrong, but because it's too complex for our limited intellect to comprehend in its entirety. However, what is evident is that we ourselves, and nobody else, are to blame for all the experiences that cross our path, because they all grow from the seeds that we've ourselves sown in the past. So in this case, what is really unfortunate is not the death of the boy (which was an unavoidable consequence of a past cause), but the gruesome action by a soldier who has set into motion the Karmic engine, which will eventually put him at the receiving end of a similar death when he is least aware of why he is in that position. Let us mourn, not for the boy who was probably freed from his bad Karma, but for the ones who entangled themselves in its web through this deplorable crime.