Why do religious groups fight? Because they also compare. By comparing, they concentrate on superficiality and not on the essence of the religion. The learning from a teacher can be true in its time but it also can be a learning opportunity at other times, if each generation interprets the words in the context of the time, space and culture that is present for them. Karuna, loving compassion, inspires us to transcend the comparative and competitive attitude of the mind.
Those who impose their beliefs on others, expecting them to accept their truth, are nurturing a subtle seed of violence which in time will grow into a tree of even more small seeds and then more trees as a vicious cycle of violence. And as long as one is other-oriented, one has given his remote control to someone else.
When walls of otherness are dropped, we see the sacred beauty of life in ourselves and we see that sacred beauty in others. We do not see that person as a man or woman or a person from a certain sect or religion. All these obstacles are removed. Unless we see beyond barriers, there won’t be peace in us or in the world. We may talk about peace but inside we go on creating separation. Some say, “My religion is the best; it is the only true religion. And, if you don’t start to practice my religion, you will go to hell.” Such dogmatism and bigotry is also a form of violence. When we practice ahinsa, we try to understand what others are saying, what they are conveying, what they are feeling. We listen beyond the words. We may not agree but we respect their right to say.
Ahinsa in Introspection
Ahinsa tends to be understood only as “Don’t do” this or that to others, animals and living beings. This is one meaning but it is secondary. The first meaning is “Don’t hurt yourself” with jealousy, hate or resentment.
Ahinsa is a subtle thing. It cannot be grasped unless we go deep into ourselves, and to achieve this, we meditate. There, we discover the sacred beauty of life. Until we have that experience, we may use the word “ahinsa” but it will only be lip service.
To practice ahinsa, one has to remove the veil of ignorance about oneself. One has to experience life within. That deep experience of life does not come from the outside, it dawns on the inside. We are reminded that denial of Self (atma) is an invisible form of violence.
When ahinsa is practiced in a vision of inner perspective, we perceive the relevancy of all life in meaningful inter-relationships among all living beings, leading to understanding and ahimsa.
Ahinsa is another name for healthy human feelings. Just as in the sunlight, darkness cannot remain, so also anger, greed, ego and deceit cannot linger in a healthy human’s feelings. Once we have the experience of this vision, we are committed to practice ahinsa in trinity of mind, word and action. In this new vigilance, we are awake and every night before we rest, we review our day and ask, “Did I harm myself? Did I in judging put down anyone? Have I contributed to human divisions: cultural, racial, intellectual, religious, physical, or others? Did I place one person above another? Did I allow my reticence to contribute to violence?”
Beauty of Ahinsa
Once we start practicing ahinsa, our life becomes an inspiration. Wherever we go, our eyes beam with compassion, our feelings vibrate with care, our words flow with love, and our actions speak Reverence for Life. People will be changed, not by our words but by
what they see, hear and feel.
When we experience the sacred beauty of life, we experience peace. We inspire Peace. Then there will be
peace. There will be peace.