HUMATA, HUKHTA, HUVARSHTA
Ahimsa has definitely shown to be a complex ideal and something that I believe requires an extreme amount of discipline to accomplish. After all is the human being not implanted with good and evil, isn't that the ying and the yang? However according to ahimsa that "evil" that we are implanted with is able to be tamed and eventually perished. Gandhi himself states this "if we remain non-violent,hatred will die as everything does, from disuse." Yet to not use violence of any sort if extremely difficult and even controversial. Is killing in self defense non-violence? I still question that, because after all the father of nonviolence himself did not stand up in self defense as he was beaten. But if the person wishes to be unplugged for example and one doesn't do it in the name of non-violence, wouldn't you be causing harm, going against the desires of that person who in turn suffers? the topic is an interesting one that could have extensive discussion, so I leave it at that. I am not sure that ahimsa is attainable but I continue to explore.
Probably Ahimsa is difficult to reach, yet I believe it is not impossible. The fact that it is difficult doesn’t mean it is not attainable. There is definitely no end to our problems; there is no end to the difficulties to the outer life. But as Hazrat Inayat Khan , the first Sufi master of the west said, “Whether the conditions become better or worse, the first thing is to seek the Kingdom of God within ourselves, in which there is peace; as soon as we have found that, we have found our support, we have found our self. And in spite of all the activity and movement on the surface, we shall be able to keep that peace undisturbed if only we hold it fast by becoming conscious of it.” Ultimately, I believe Ahimsa is an ongoing process that takes form and shape within oneself. And as Khan says, peace is not knowledge, peace is not power, peace is not happiness, but peace is all these.
I think that ahimsa or non-violence was to start in ourselves before being practiced with the world. In order to be a peaceful person you have to attain peace within yourself first. Non-violence is an internal process in which we have to be at peace with ourselves, then it will be reflected in everything we do. If we are peaceful beings, if we attain peace within ourselves, it won’t be as hard to act peacefully at all times. It’s like when Gandhi talks about not putting on the cloak of ahimsa. We can not act non-violent if we still have hatred and violence in ourselves. Its not about acting non-violent, but being non-violent in every sense.
Though it may be seen as somewhat idealistic, the concept of Ahimsa alone can be the basis of a way of thought that can promote a different and surely improved society. Violence ranges from massive wars between countries to petty conflicts between individuals. It seems as if it is truly a part of our human nature, as we all have an innate desire and quest for power and/or happiness; and one will go to any length and go through anyone who stands in their way. However, as Ahimsa is seen as one extreme, this description of the constant prevalence of violence is the other. The fact is that we all must try not to view our society to that extreme, as it tends to stray us from believing in a better society without as much violence as we have today.
In the book, Gandhi on Non-Violence, I – 251 states, “My greatest weapon is mute prayer.” A weapon can be seen as an instrument used in both offense and defense in relation to combat, war or opposing adversaries. To suggest mute prayer is a weapon suggests - I believe - one form of non-violence manifested into reality. Ahimsa promotes non-violence toward any living creature whether it is through word, thought or acts, which seems somewhat impossible (we are humans and humans are fallible, especially, to quick reactions in particular situations). However, if one would truly be under the state of Ahimsa, one would never seen anyone else as an enemy and therefore, any weapon wouldn’t be necessary. Then again, weapon, as used in the quote may be used to appeal for those of Western culture, for those who believe to not have a weapon is to be defenseless and weak. Ahimsa may be complicated, but it is attainable to a certain degree and is more efficient as a guideline to live life without harming others.
I think I'm a non-practicing "Ahimsan". The principle of living a life in which I cause no harm to anyone or anything is quite remarkable. However, the truth of the matter is that yesterday I went to Miami Subs and ate a Gyro. By eating that lamb, I was indirectly harming that poor, little, innocent creature. But when I consider my relationship to my fellow (wo)man, I think I've tried my best to be as "Ahimsian" as possible. But my mind can't escape the "counterexamples" that constantly surface. If my future daughter is being raped, I will do everything in my power to cause sufficient harm to the perpetrator to get him to stop.But, you know what, i think I just realized something. "Sufficient harm." Perhaps that is where I will draw the line when it comes to harming someone. It's sort of like the idea of necessary and unecessary evil. The harm in we inflict in self-defense is quite often a "necessary harm." But then I remember the martyrs of our world. Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.. These guys didn't even raise a finger in their own defense. Gosh, this is such a complicated matter... (thinking)... -daniel
Ahimsa, to my knowledge is a state of mind. Its deals with the human reaction to certain life situations. Ahimsa, promotes being non-violent towards every living creature and life situation. I believe that Ahimsa is attainable, it just takes time....... this was a very controversial subject and it opened my eyes....
The idea of Ahimsa is a rather simple idea; however, its implications are certainly not. If one chooses to analyze it literally or coherently with the example set by its father, Gandhi, this could be logically perceived as insanity, since this would possibly allow for wars and horrendous acts of violence to occur, if the attempt to stop or prevent such things implied the use of force and, consequently, of violence.
This state of "Ahimsa" is both a very beautiful thought and at the same time a very difficult way of living. The reason its beautiful is because if we practiced non-violance (Ahimsa) we would be living in a much better society were people would be respecting each other and at the same time be at peace and loving each other. This does not only apply to people but also to animals. We have to be non-violent to our surroundings so we can truly be at peace. The reason its difficult is because is it possible for us to control all of our anger and hate. Can we really learn to not let peoples actions affect us and not share our rage and hate against someone. Can we really learn to not harm others? But most importantly can we do all of this from the bottom of our selfs and not fake ourselves in the process?
"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." -Albert Einstein
"He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so be violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden." This excerpt of Gandhi’s teachings clarifies the problem of self-defense. Ahimsa does not preach dying fruitlessly and there are situations in which non-violence will not protect the people that you love. However, Gandhi believed that these cases were few. If you are facing a murder and you calmly accept your death, allowing him to then go rape and kill your wife, there was no nobility in your act. In the Christian tradition, Jesus gave his life for the benefit of all mankind and none would argue that he died fruitlessly. The distinction to be made is whether or not non-violently facing your death will protect other people.
Non-violence is a practice that is easier to describe than to apply. Humans by nature are violent. We have instincts in us that cause us to be violent. Even if we recognize these innate instincts it is still hard to control them. The reading says that we shouldn't give a false ahimsa on the outside if we are violent on the inside. This makes practicing ahimsa a challange. Since a necessary condition of this practice is coherence and the fact that anger cause us to lose conherence it is hard for the average man to apply it in our everyday life.
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