Ahimsa the concept of Non Violence
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
– Mahatma Ghandi.
Ahimsa means “Not to injure“ or “Compassion”. It is a a key virtue of the Indian Culture. The word is Sanskrit and has the following meaning : ‘Himsa’ = ‘hurt’ and ‘A’ = ‘not’.
Ahimsa refers to the wide concept of non-violence in all aspect of lives. It applies to all living beings including all animals. It is the absence of physical or emotional pain, it refers not only to actions but also to thoughts, words, and intentions. Ahimsa also involves the absence of violence towards others but also towards ourselves.
Ahimsa in Yoga :
If we talk about Yoga, Ahimsa is the first ethical practice (Yama) of the Yoga Sutras. The “Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali” are also known as the foundations of yoga.
Ahimsa – ‘Non violence’
Satya – ‘Truthfulness’
Asteya – ‘Non-stealing’
Brahmacharya – ‘Continence’ or ‘Right use of energy’
Aparigraha – ‘Non Greed’
The very first Yama, “Ahimsa” is also said to be the most important. The practice of Ahimsa involves not harming others but also ourselves.
In yoga, this means not to put ourselves beyond our limits to exhaustion and injury.
It also means that we need to let go of negative thoughts about our body, accepting ourselves no matter how strong or flexible we are.
Mindful Eating :
A lot of people would ask : “Do we need to be vegetarian or vegan to practice Ahimsa?”
The guidance of Ahimsa advises us not to harm another being, animal or human. God is in everything and everyone therefore it suggests we have to abstain from eating animal.
We can consider other ways to follow Ahimsa. It is important not to injure the others but it is as important not to injure ourselves. You can follow Mindful Eating Practice and take into consideration:
- How much you eat ?
- How you eat ?
- Where your food comes from ?
It means that eating animals or not is not the only important matter here- It is important to consider what works best for your body but also it means you need to take care of the environment.
Consider buying organically, supporting fair trade companies or going vegan a couple of times a week.
Ahimsa In Your Daily Life
The practice of Ahimsa is not only about restraining from physical violence. It is also, and just as important, the practice of non-violence in our thoughts.
Controlling our mind and thoughts is probably the most challenging way to practice Ahimsa.
Our mind is the most powerful tool. Everything starts from here. If we plant a seed of negativity, a seed of self-harm, that seed will grow.
As the Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
Indeed, we should all cultivate loving kindness and peace toward ourselves in the first place.