Ahimsa is non-harmfulness (harmlessness). To not wish harm to any living creature—not even to any lifeless object. Ahimsa is about the intent, rather than the action itself. It is an attitude of universal benevolence.
I decided to bring this up now, although I have discussed this at great lengths throughout my life as many of you know. But every once in awhile we may need to be reminded what this first and most powerful universal law means!
Do we have the right to change God’s Laws to suite our sense of justice?
I have been watching, as I usually do, to the way we speak and interact with each other, as well as how we speak and think about our politics, both nationally as well as internationally .
I do know one thing, that when following these beautiful guidelines we actually can't go wrong.
I was born into violence and I was reborn into non-violence into Ahimsa. I know, more than anything that any form of violence towards any being for any reason is only feeding into the energy and “virus of violence”. To end violence we need to end it within ourselves first.
When we look at the current world affairs and see violence against another country, our thoughts may turn towards violence towards the oppressor. I ask you to contemplate this, which is very difficult to do.
Violence is the weakest of all emotions, and the most pervasive. It has no power over compassion, none. This is a lesson I learned from my father. He was a violent man and I learned compassion from him. I learned strength and non-violence. I thank him for it.
I continue to learn from violent people that they are weak, and my compassion is strong. Find within yourselves ways to make your life more non-violent, your thoughts towards yourselves and others more non-violent, and see how you can change the world around you, one thought at time.
I ask you to do the hard thing, to contemplate compassion for all, for all beings around the world as well as within your own lives.
In Orthodox Hinduism
The Hindu mystic Patanjali wrote a scripture called the Yoga Sutras. In book two he outlined yamas (restraints, or what one should not do) and niyamas (observances, or what one should do). These two “laws” are only the first two in a total of 8 universal laws of how to live this human life and how to live a life without suffering and ultimately attain enlightenment. Ahimsa is the first of the yamas. The Yoga Sutras say that once ahimsa is mastered, even wild animals and ferocious criminals will become tame and harmless in our presence.
Ahimsa definition states that a person should not kill, which I hope is the most obvious understanding of this word, as it is stated in the “10 commandments”, but that is only one small part of the meaning of Ahimsa. These are the reasons why vegetarianism is so widespread in India. Some Hindus believe that one should not kill or harm anything, even to save one’s own life.
The term of non-violences was popularized in modern times by Mahatma Gandhi. By non-violent resistance he led India to political emancipation from Britain.
The Deeper Meaning of Ahimsa According to Swami Kriyananda
“Ahimsa, rightly understood, is the ultimate weapon; it turns one’s enemy into a friend, thereby banishing the possibility of further conflict. In the practice of yoga, it is important to understand that the same life flows in the veins of all creatures.”
– Swami Kriyananda
What a beautiful statement to contemplate and explore, but it is very hard to attain.
What Patanjali referred to, essentially, was the attitude of the mind, rather than the literal acts of the body. It is one’s attitude that can either lead him toward liberation, or hold him in greater bondage. An attitude of harmlessness (and its corollary, a feeling of universal benevolence) is what is meant by ahimsa.
The principle of ahimsa must be understood in subtle ways, not only in gross. To harm anyone in the slightest way, even by disrespect, will harm the person doing the action, as well as the one receiving it. The perfect practice of ahimsa, then, is very rare. For though not many people would actually kill their fellows, it is common to find people slashing at one another with angry words, or with contemptuous glances.
“Be kind in thought and action towards yourself and others. Be present, participate.” Berta