But then the question that comes to the fore is, it may be good to live peacefully and assimilate the newcomers but why were the attacks not repulsed with full force in the first place? It is hard to believe that with so much of population the counter attacks or the opposition to external attackers (and no religiosity was really involved in external attacks. All attackers actually came for consolidating their power and to destroy known prosperity and loot the wealth of India, religion was merely a fig-leaf to justify their attack) was not what it should have been.
While I am propagating this thought, I am mindful that we had Prithviraj Chouhan, Maharana Pratap, Hemu, etc but most of their resistance crumbled some or the other time (like in the case Prithviraj Chouhan, may be on the 18th time after defeating the attacker 17 times).
Let me get down to the main argument of mine. First damage to majority psyche came from so calledजाति प्रथा (Caste system). According to the Caste system, only the people belonging to warrior clan were entitled to bear arms, protect society from all kind of aggression and were solely responsible for putting up resistance whatsoever.
The balance 3/4 of the people (3 castes out of 4 by Varna division) consisting of Priests, traders and workmen communities were told to concentrate on their profession. This 75 % population was de-franchised from arms and warfare. They never picked up arms, not even as citizen soldiers to join the warfare when the need for all to take up arms and stand up arose.
Here is the proof of my statement (least I am called Preposterous) The full text of this shloka from Adi Parva is as under
अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः सर्वप्राणभृतां समृतः
तस्मात पराणभृतः सर्वान न हिंस्याथ बराह्मणः कव चित
As seen from above, if the full text was used, it was very evident that this diktat was meant for only Brahmanas (Which may not be the full truth anyway). That would mean, at least in the context of Shloka mentioned above, which was and is often half quoted or quoted out of context, the other three Varnas, namely Warriors, Traders and Artisans, that is three out of four Varnik divisions (and not Warriors alone) were free to bear arms to protect themselves and their nation, if only they were fed correct information, there would have been lot many additional warriors to fight the invaders.
Let me now examine if it was an injunction for all Brahmanas (is it appears to be, by verbal translation). Was it true for even Priest class? In Kurukshetra War both Dronachrya and krupacharya, brahmans and married, fought on the side of Kauravas and so was Ashwathma, Dronachrya's son. In recent times, there were Brahmin Chieftains including The Peshwas in the Maratha Kingdom right from Shivaji's days who fought for Maratha Kingdom and spread the Maratha Kingdom far and wide.
Thus It actually applied to Sanyasis (and not to all Brahmans) who have to leave all the worldly things and be kind to all the living being. But if it was an injunction for all Sanyasis, how come Lord Parshuram picked up Arms despite being a sanyasi (under exceptional circumstances). The famous novel Anand Math by Bankam Chandra Chatterjee, which had the patriotic song “Vande – Matram” in it. has a central theme of Sanyasis taking up Arms to fight against a repressive regime. If taking up arms were forbidden for Sanyasis at all times, these examples would not have been there.
As can be seen, there was no absolute compulsion of "Ahimsa Param Dharma" on even Sanyasis, therefore, the Brahmans including Sanyasis were also free to pick up arms when needed. It must be mentioned that in the normal course, it was not expected for brahmans to be armed with anything more than knowledge but remember, that was valid only for normal times, not during exceptions when they could bear arms and use them.
And if bearing arms and using them for just cause was forbidden, why would lord Kirshna tell Arjuna in Kurukhstra war to treat the Mahabharat war as a war for just cause and against injustice hence fighting this war is his dharma, to be performed without attachment (as espoused in various chapters of Srimad Bhagwat Gita), despite knowing fully well that this war was to cause doom in Bharatvarsha.
I hope I have been able to conclude that there is no religious or Varna restriction on bearing arms on any one belonging to any caste or sub-division in India. Particularly when the need to protect what is sacred to the nation, protecting self, family and society against any aggression, internal or external. Alas, if only this was clearly brought out in our society many centuries ago, our history would have been very different.
Alas, The population of this nation was quoted an important teaching only partially, out of context by some teachers and leaders who possibly themselves did not go deep in the meaning of the full sholaka (given below) or out of some vested interest-