Given below is an English translation of Savarkar’s assorted views on ethics, truth and non-violence
Once we descend from the outer space of non-dualism onto the firm ground of dualism then it is impossible to accept that the principle of welfare of all living beings literally means welfare of every living being…The expression ’Sarvabhootahite rataha’ (lit: ‘to strive for or engage in the welfare of all living beings’) merely states the broad principle but mainly means ‘to strive for or engage in the welfare of the greater number of humans’.
The science of ethics has to rely on utilitarianism while choosing one out of two actions as being correct. (1925, Kesari, 04 August)
Sri Krishna was the first acharya (preceptor) of utilitarianism
I used to believe and say that utility is the ethical code and underlying principle on the basis of which we should found and justify our revolutionary movement. Drawing from several incidents related to Sri Krishna in the Mahabharata, I used to prove from his speeches, teachings and actions that Sri Krishna was the first proponent, nay the first preceptor of utilitarianism. Sri Krishna showed how to practice it. He justified, indeed it is possible to justify all his actions on this one principle. (1947, Majhya aathvani or My reminiscences, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.1, p.206)
What is ethics or good attribute?
…Any thought or deed that is beneficial to human life may be termed ethical or meritorious. Whatever runs contrary to the same may be termed as unethical or harmful…In other words, human life is the touchstone of ethics. (1940, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.60)
When does truth become untruth?
Welfare of humanity is the sole litmus test of all good attributes. In other words, that which results in overall human welfare is truth, good attribute and dharma (*righteousness). But that ‘truth’ which punishes the innocent and spares the guilty is no truth, it is untruth or bad attribute. (1947, Majhya aathvani or My reminiscences, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.1, p.247)
Compassion is the highest sentiment
Of the various noble sentiments that are responsible for the stability, happiness, contentment and glory of the human race, compassion is the foremost. What a mother is to her child, so is compassion to society. (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.239)
The origin of compassion for all living beings
Just as compassion for humankind is innate to humans, so too compassion for all living beings springs from a natural feeling of empathy and sympathy. Those whose horizons of compassion have broadened enough to include all animals gave compassion the pride of place as the highest human attribute. Compassion for humankind broadened initially to compassion for select animals and finally in the case of tender-hearted souls to compassion even for the most violent animals such as tigers and lions. (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.241)
The Hindu nation’s experiment in compassion for all living beings
Many great souls have to date, implemented the principle of compassion for all living beings with great determination. Such great souls who practiced compassion for all human beings to the extent possible, have taken birth in many evolved societies. The Hindu nation has been in the forefront in regarding compassion not as merely a high-flown principle but something that is to be practiced in each living moment. This grand experiment played by the Hindu nation in this regard, unparalleled as it no doubt was, must be termed as praiseworthy, noble but an utter failure! (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.241)
The Hindu nation’s experiment of practicing compassion or nonviolence to the extreme proved to be totally impracticable. The sacrifice, privations and penance that people suffered in carrying out this experiment is surely a tribute to humanity. The hardships faced by them have no parallel anywhere in the world. Their perseverance and kind-heartedness cannot be adequately lauded. And the failure they finally met with may also be termed in a sense, as a success. For they settled once and for all the question whether absolute compassion is possible and the limit to which it can be practised. Failure in any experiment is also a success. (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.241)
My idea of nature
If I were an artist, I would depict nature as follows:
Her tongue freshly smeared with blood from a recently slaughtered deer calf, a tigress walks towards her cubs. Her cubs cling to and suckle her while she cleans her blood-stained jaw with her tongue. This is the world in its reality. The tigress slaughters and kills a deer calf so that she may feed her own cubs and give them life. She is committing violence on one so that she may shower love on another. This picture harmonizes violence and nonviolence. (1940, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.4, p.499)
There is no place for absolute nonviolence anywhere in nature. (1940, Hindutvache panchapran or The Spirit of Hindutva, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.62)
Absolute nonviolence is not a reality of nature and certainly not its underlying principle. (1940, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.4, p.499)
What is the limit for practising compassion?
Compassion for all living beings is a principle to be practised to the extent it leads to material human benefit. Beyond that, a human being is not guilty of violence if he has to commit it for the benefit of humankind! That guilt lies with nature, with creation, if at all it is god who has willed it! (Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.249)
The principle of compassion for all living beings has led to our defeat
We have lost our thrones not to demons but to this principle of compassion for all living beings (*Bhutaanni aamchi sinhasane ghetali naahit pan bhootadayene maatra aamhaas paraabhoot kele aahe are Savarkar’s exact words)