Swami Sivananda on Ahimsa
- MEANING OF AHIMSA
Ahimsa or non-injury, of course, implies non-killing.
But, non-injury is not merely non-killing. In its
comprehensive meaning, Ahimsa or non-injury means entire
abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to
any living creature, either by thought, word, or deed.
Non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth, and hand.
Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive,
cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude
in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice.
Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is
SUBTLE FORMS OF HIMSA
Only the ordinary people think that Ahimsa is not to hurt
any living being physically. This is but the gross form
of Ahimsa. The vow of Ahimsa is broken even by showing
contempt towards another man, by entertaining unreasonable
dislike for or prejudice towards anybody, by frowning at
another man, by hating another man, by abusing another
man, by speaking ill of others, by backbiting or vilifying,
by harbouring thoughts of hatred, by uttering lies, or
by ruining another man in any way whatsoever.
All harsh and rude speech is Himsa (violence or injury).
Using harsh words to beggars, servants or inferiors is Himsa. Wounding the feelings of others by gesture, expression,
tone of voice and unkind words is also Himsa. Slighting
or showing deliberate discourtesy to a person before others
is wanton Himsa. To approve of another's harsh actions is
indirect Himsa. To fail to relieve another's pain, or even
to neglect to go to the person in distress is a sort of Himsa.
It is the sin of omission. Avoid strictly all forms of
harshness, direct or indirect, positive or negative, immediate
or delayed. Practice Ahimsa in its purest form and become
divine. Ahimsa and Divinity are one.
AHIMSA, A QUALITY OF THE STRONG
If you practice Ahimsa, you should put up with insults,
rebukes, criticisms and assaults also. You should never
retaliate nor wish to offend anybody even under extreme
provocation. You should not entertain any evil thought
against anybody. You should not harbour anger. You should
not curse. You should be prepared to lose joyfully even
your life in the cause of Truth. The Ultimate Truth can be
attained only through Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is the acme of bravery. Ahimsa is not possible
without fearlessness. Non-violence cannot be practiced by
weak persons. Ahimsa cannot be practiced by a man who is
terribly afraid of death and has no power of resistance and endurance. It is a shield, not of the effeminate, but of
the potent. Ahimsa is a quality of the strong. It is a weapon
of the strong. When a man beats you with a stick, you should
not entertain any thought of retaliation or any unkind feeling towards the tormentor. Ahimsa is the perfection of forgiveness.