Saturday, October 23, 2010

The concept of Non-violence (Ahimsa) as envisaged and flashed by me on the f.b. on October 25,2010.

Bishwanath Singh:
One often talks of Ahimsa (Non-violence).Let us analyze as what it means and signifies to others ! Non-Violence(Ahimsa) is a term relates to do no harm It is an important tenet of the Indian religions Hinduism, Buddhism and especially Jainism. Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living bei...ngs. It is closely connected with the notion that all kinds of violence entail negative karmic consequences. In modern Hinduism slaughter according to the rituals permitted in the Vedic scriptures has virtually disappeared. In the 19th and 20th centuries, prominent figures of Indian spirituality such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivanandaand A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami had emphasized the importance of ahimsa and have been torchbearers to our modern societies.Gandhi Ji had practiced non-violence in his life and preached others to follow it.

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Bishwanath Singh :
Let us have a glimpse of non-violence !The origins of the concept of non-violence (ahimsa) are unknown save & except, the earliest references to ahimsa are found in the texts of historical Vedic religion, dated to eighth century BCE. Here,... ahimsa initially relates to non-injury without a moral connotation, but later to non-violence to animals and then, to all beings. Though ritual sacrifice of animals and meat-eating are condoned in the earliest Vedic texts,. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, prominent figures of Indian spirituality such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Swami Sivananda and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada emphasized the importance of ahimsa. Mahatma Gandhi applied ahimsa to politics, by his non-violent satyagrahas.Ahimsa in Jainism emphasizes vegetarianism and bans hunting and ritual sacrifice. The followers of Jainism go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals and make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. In accordance to this policy, eating of some foods, whose cultivation harms small insects and worms as well as agriculture itself, is to be abstained from. Violence in self-defense, criminal law, and war are accepted by Hindus and Jains. Though ahimsa is not used as a technical term in Buddhism unlike the other two religions, it condemns ritual sacrifice and violence, and moral codes emphasize the importance of not taking life. The Chandogya Upanishad, dated to the 8th or 7th century BCE, one of the oldest Upanishads, has the earliest evidence for the use of the word ahimsa in the sense familiar in Hinduism a code of conductMaharshi Valmiki was going to the river Ganges for his daily ablutions. A disciple by the name Bharadwaja was carrying his clothes. On the way, they came across the Tamasa Stream. Looking at the stream, Valmiki said to his disciple, "Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man! I will bathe here today." When he was looking for a suitable place to step into the stream, he heard the sweet chirping of birds. Looking up, he saw two birds flying together. Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy bird couple. Suddenly, one of the birds fell down, hit by an arrow; it was the male bird. Seeing the wounded one, its mate screamed in agony. Valmiki's heart melted at this pitiful sight. He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. Valmiki became very angry. His lips opened and he uttered in Sanskrit meaning by that the hunter will find no rest for the long years of Eternity, For the hunter killed a bird in love and unsuspecting-``Hindu scriptures and law books support the use of violence in self-defense against an armed attacker. They make it clear that criminals are not protected by the rule of ahimsa. They have no misgivings about the death penalty; their position is that evil-doers who deserve death should be killed and that a king in particular is obliged to punish criminals and should not hesitate to kill them, even if they happen to be his own brothers and sons. In the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita Krishna refutes the pacifist ideas of Arjuna and uses various arguments to convince him that he must fight and kill in the impending battle. According to this interpretation of the scriptures, face-to-face combat is highly meritorious and fighters who die in battle go to heaven The apparent conflict between pacifistic interpretations of Ahimsa and the just war prescribed by the Bhagwat Gita has been resolved by some individuals by resorting to allegorical readings. Some of which are based on Theosophical interpretations and were notably represented by Mahatma Gandhi, who made clear throughout his life and his own commentary on the Bhagwat Gita that it was "an allegory in which the battlefield is the soul and Arjuna, man's higher impulses struggling against evil." Gandhi promoted the principle of ahimsa very successfully by applying it to all spheres of life, particularly to politics. His non-violent resistance movement satyagraha had an immense impact on India, impressed public opinion in Western countries and influenced the leaders of various civil rights movements such as Martin Luther King Jr. In Gandhi’s thought ahimsa precludes not only the act of inflicting a physical injury, but also mental states like .evil thoughts and hatred, unkind behavior such as harsh words, dishonesty and lying, all of which he saw as manifestations of violence incompatible with ahimsa. Gautam Buddha had said "Love all, so that you may not wish to kill any" This is a positive way of stating the principle of Ahimsa. The Buddhas' Ahimsa is quite in keeping with his middle path. To put it differently, the Buddha made a distinction between Principle and Rule. He did not make Ahimsa a matter of Rule. He enunciated it as a matter of Principle or way of life. A principle leaves you freedom to act. A rule does not. The rule either breaks you, or you break the rule In modern Hinduism slaughter according to the rituals permitted in the Vedic scriptures has virtually disappeared. In the 19th and 20th centuries, prominent figures of Indian spirituality such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivanandaand A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swamiemphasized the importance of non-violence( ahimsa).
Bishwanath Singh :Let us hope that all of us will follow non-violence in practice in our life what Gandhi Ji had envisaged & practiced all throughout his life in the past!
October 25,2010

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