Is it Cowardice Not to Protest?


(from a friend living in Egypt:) the feeling of helplessness is soooo bad ... I wish this is all over though i don't know how but I also feel bad about myself and feel ashamed that my life is almost normal ... I go to work,study,eat, drink while people are raped & I a coward to start planning to immigrate??? it seems there is no simple solution for me ... now the SCAF is ruling and it is killing people as easy as blinking an eye if they protest ... am I a coward to not go protest?

—maia, usa


Our hearts and minds are with you as you try to understand what the dharmic (righteous) action is to take in the situation you find yourself in in Egypt at this time.

I will begin by saying that a choice like this should always be an individual one. Each person has unique individual karma (influences from past lives). Therefore, what might be a right action for one person, may not be for another. The dharmic action (right moral action) for each individual can be very different.

There is an example of how this works from the life of Paramhansa Yogananda. It appears in the book Conversations with Yogananda by Swami Kriyananda.

Yogananda states: “When I was young, a certain student of mine wanted me to lead a revolution to free India from foreign domination. ‘That is your job,’ I told him. I added, however, ‘India will be freed during my lifetime by peaceful means.’

“He was determined to follow the way of armed revolution, however, though I tried to dissuade him from it. The British caught him, and he was executed. Divine Mother punished him for trying to use force.

Swami Kriyananda, who was with Yogananda when he told this story, asked him, “Master, if Divine Mother didn’t want it, and you knew in advance it wouldn’t happen anyway, why did you let him go ahead with his plans?”

The Master’s answer was, “That was his (the student’s) determination in this life, according to his karma.”

Swami Kriyananda goes on to explain: “To the soul, as (Yogananda) often told us, death means nothing. People, in their true Self, see “their exits and their entrances” (to quote Shakespeare) as fleeting appearances, merely, on the stage of earthly existence. Such is life’s endless drama.”

In your situation, you will need to feel, as best you can from within, what the right choice is for you. If you don’t feel that it is your dharma to be involved in the protests that are happening, then you shouldn’t do it. If you feel you can be of more service to your country by leaving the chaos of Egypt at this time, then you should do so.

Whatever your choice ends up being, it most likely will not be an easy one. What Egypt is facing at this time, many countries may face in the coming years. And many people will be faced with the kinds of choices that you are facing now. May you feel Yogananda’s blessings of light and love with you as you find your way in this time.