Thursday, November 12, 2009

Non-Violence

Ahimsa and non-violence are both negative words symbolizing a positive term. Are these words accurate in describing this term? I am not sure. All of us commit violence on a physical, mental and spiritual plane. Our every movement or act of breathing kills millions of micro-organisms. In doing our daily duties we commit violence like a commando killing a terrorist in a war, a surgeon cuts open flesh to do his surgery, a farmer tills the soil and kills the earthworms etc etc. So it may seem that the very basis of our existence is violence. These are overt acts of violence but covert act of the same occur when we hate some one, get angry, become jealous or even think evil about the persons around you. Our craving for material objects and indulgences beyond our needs are all acts of violence since they deprive our fellow humans of what is rightly theirs. So a life dedicated to non-violence is one in which we commit the least violence. Therefore, non-violence is descriptive of the state of least violence. So the motive behind an act is important.

A selfless act done in the service of humanity as in a soldier killing to defend his nation or a surgeon operating to benefit his patient or even a farmer growing food does not become an act of violence. But all these acts done wrongly like killing an innocent in an encounter or operating when not needed or growing crops which become drugs are acts of violence.

Is non-violence easy to practice? Is it a weapon of the weak? Non-violence in thought , word and deed are very difficult to practice. A constant purification of thought and a consciousness which remains in tune with the divine Self is needed for this practice. A translation of the famous bhajan of Mahatma Gandhi Vaishna Vajan has a line in which a true lover of God is said to be ever in tune with the name of the Lord. So when a violent thought comes to ones mind one must become detached from it and yoke the consciousness with a pure thought. This will never allow violent words or actions to follow. Non-violence is certainly not the weapon of the weak. It requires great mental strength to not hurt someone in thought, word or deed when provoked to the extreme. This is especially true when one has the physical strength and capacity to fight back. Mere non-violence because one is afraid of losing the battle is cowardice. Therefore it is my firm belief that the real non-violence is indeed rare and difficult to practice. Every little bit of practice in this direction is a step towards ultimate freedom or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

In these times of stress when we need to realize and practice this value as much as we can and prevent the disastrous consequences of war.

Vispi Jokhi