Ahimsa- A Means to World Peace
* Dr. ( Mrs. ) Asha R. Gurjar
Today the mankind is passing through a very difficult period in the history of the world. The world is on the verge of war. Every country, in the pretext of self-protection, collects weapons, trains thousands of soldiers and spends a lot of valuable money on military, which can be otherwise used for the development of the downtrodden. Science has progressed a lot and has provided mankind with missiles, atom-bombs, chemical weapons and so on and so forth. At the same time, science has offered the human civilization many a gift. It has changed our life-style and made it more comfortable. Side by side, the lust getting more comforts and enjoyments is also increasing. And because all do not get enough share of enjoyments, there is an unrest, a sort of cold-war in the society. It creates class-differences and class-hatred. Due to greed and passion for enjoyments men hate each other, even brother hates brother and father envies his own son, sons dislike parents, teachers want to deprive the students of their merit, nobody believes anybody. This is cold war. From the time immemorable great thinkers thought of such , situations and for the sake of mankind they established modes of good conduct-which is called Dharma or religion. All religions have some common principles and they are-ï¿½ Love, Pity, non-violence, helping others by oneï¿½s efforts or money.
According to Hindu philosophy Yoga consists of 8 angas. Its first anga is Yama ( i. e. restrictions ). Nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-receiving are the five Yamas. (ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ÖŸï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ÃŸï¿½ï¿½ï¿½-ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½×¸ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½Ö´ï¿½ï¿½: ) Ahimsa is the first and foremost principle which means non-injuring or non-killing or non-violence. From the ancient, beginningless time human race has survived by killing lower species, and has protected himself by killing ferocious animals. When man started offering sacrifices to gods, he naturally offered the gods, the best he liked, vii. flesh of animals. The idea of soul immortal, all-pervading, existing in every being was conceived and then the seers thought it wrong to deprive anybody from his life. So they restricted killing of animals only on some occasions, viz. when a sacrifice is to be performed or a quest is to be honored. Later on a maxim was laid down.
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Gradually, the meaning of the word ahimsa, and the vow of ahimsa became wider and subtler, It was extended to non-injuring of any being by thought, word and deed.
Buddhists accept that we have no right to take any fife.
Jainism considers non-injuring or ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ as the greatest value. Many basic works on Jainism expound on the principle of non-injuring. Non-injuring is dealt with on two levels viz.
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Absence of arising of love or passion ( of something or someone ) is called Ahimsa. Due to love or passion one exerts himsa or injury to others. If there is no passion there will be no killing, no hurting, no war; ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö¾Öï¿½Ö“ï¿½Ö¸ï¿½ declares-
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Keeping oneself away from killing any living being by mind, speech and body and by proposed, done or promoted himsa is called ahimsa by wise men, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½×¸ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö¸ï¿½ describes ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö´ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö¾ï¿½ÎŸÖ´ï¿½ï¿½ as ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½×ŸÖ¯ï¿½ß›ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½æ´Ö•ï¿½ß¾ï¿½ï¿½: ï¿½ï¿½Ö¤ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ß¾ï¿½Öï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ÖŸï¿½ï¿½ï¿½×¤ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½Ôï¿½ï¿½-ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ã£ï¿½ÖÖï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öµï¿½ï¿½êµï¿½Öµï¿½ï¿½Âµï¿½×¤ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ÖŸï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½Ö´Öï¿½Ã£ï¿½ÖÖ¿ÖµÖï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½ï¿½×¤ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Ã¾Öµï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½Ö¸ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ÖŸÖÖ´ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ÖŸï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½×¾Ö¸ï¿½×Ÿï¿½: ï¿½Ö¤ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö´ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö¾ï¿½ÎŸÖ´ï¿½ï¿½ l
Do not ever kill the smallest insects also. Knowing their existence one should not kill them himself while walking, sitting, sleeping or doing any actions or one should not make others kill them or should not allow others to kill them. This is called ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö´ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö¾ï¿½ÎŸÖ´ï¿½ï¿½.
So many definitions of ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ are given in different texts. All of them can be summarised as-not killing, not harming or not even disturbing any smallest being for any purpose; religious er otherwise, knowingly or unknowingly, by oneï¿½s mind, ( i. e. thought ) speech and body.
It is noteworthy that everywhere speech or word-the killing power of tongue is mentioned and is asked to be checked. ï¿½ï¿½×¸ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ó¿Ö¯ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½ says :
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Due to love, hatred or illusion one should not speak; words which cause pain to others and one should always speak truth. This is the second great vow. These ï¿½Ö´ï¿½×ÖµÖ´ï¿½s dos and donï¿½ts are not merely for their own sake. They are meant for the internal purity of the human being. Non-injuring should not be just an external practice. It should create in oneï¿½s mind love for every creature. The test of Ahimsa is absence of jealousy. A real Ahimsaka is a real lover of mankind and is jealous of none. Jealousy is seep through many things, in human behaviour-especially through speech.
Speech is a special gift of nature to man. Many time man does not use it carefully-nay, he misuses it many times. He takes delight in exchanging harsh, painful words, due to sheer lack of sympathy. If one is wounded by the bitter words of others, how he himself can use such words? It is truly said in the Mahabharata ï¿½The wound of weapons can be healed up after sometime but wounds caused by bitter words are never healed.ï¿½ Because of jealousy we censure others. Censure is the greatest misuse of speech gift. Taittiriya and Chandogya Upanishads teach us not to censure the Sun, the Rain, the seasons, the animals and world or people the food and the Brahmins. Further, Chandogya Upanishad advises ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ö´Öï¿½ï¿½: Ãµï¿½ÖŸï¿½ï¿½ Be-wide hearted ! Be-open minded. It is mannerful to answer in the same language of the question. It is generally experienced that the speakerï¿½s tone, harsh or otherwise is reached by the listener. Our soft, sweet, smooth, sober unhurting words make the whole atmosphere calm and quiet and less unpleasant in the worst conditions of the things. Truth is many times bitter, so it is said-
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Good ( beneficial ) and sweet speech is rare. Often one does not like to talk or hear whatever is beneficial but not sweet-
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Hence, agreeable speech is considered as an art ! When tongue is controlled, mind is also gradually controlled, and stops thinking bad/low about others. Our scriptures say-if you can not speak good of others, speak less or keep silence.
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With efforts a monk, avoiding roughness and harshness should speak , ( only ) in religious works. This is called Bhashasamiti ( i. e. control on speech ). The word of one, who speaks less and controllingly is, in our daily life also, respected more and comes true. Good speech at right time can turn enemies into friends. On the other hand, all good conduct and righteousness is ruined by a slap of bitter tongue. Bhavabhuti says-
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Good speech is, no doubt, a desire-yielding cow ! ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½Ö¸ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½Ö´ï¿½ï¿½:ï¿½ has been repeated in many holy texts thousand times. All religions agree on this principle. In practical life, today we are faraway from religion. External practices of some religions are observed, no doubt, but internal purity is not achieved by those practices. When selfishness and passion for worldly enjoyments is increasing, cruelty is bound to increase. That is the rootcause of all wars. Only solution for avoiding all sorts of quarrels and wars is the path of ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½. If power is needed for killing, much more power is needed for non-killing. Resolution of non-injuring, of a mentally and physically strong person has more value than that of a feeble person.
The effect of following ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ is as follows-
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Non-killing being established, in his ( Yogiï¿½s ) presence all enmities cease ( in others ). Swami Vivekanand explainsï¿½ If a man gets the ideal of non-injuring others, before him even animals which are by their nature ferocious will become peaceful. The tiger and the lamb will play together before that Yogi. When you have come to that stage, then alone you will understand that you have become firmly established in non-injuring.ï¿½
Can we only hope that there should be no wars, no struggles? No ! we can do something more – We can start with non-injuring others through our sweet speech and finally attain complete non-injuring. If we cannot change the world, we can try to change ourselves as ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Öï¿½s and the world may change, automatically, into a peaceful one !
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