To me it means the training of the body and mind to appreciate everything – want nothing. Ahimsa implies an active and positive sense of love, rather than the passive concept of non-violence. Optimists may even live longer than those who think of themselves as pessimists. Each being is a vital thread in another’s life tapestry and our lives are woven together for a reason – to survive and be happy. However, holding onto thoughts and letting them repeat again and again in your mind is what in the end turns into actions or words of violence. Ahimsa is one of the greatest gifts from India to the rest of the world taught by the Buddha, Mahavira of the Jains, Guru Nanak of the Sikhs and the ancient sages of the Hindu tradition. The discipline imposed is purity of thought, word and deed. You can have ahimsa in your diet, in your thoughts, and in how you communicate with the people around you. It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, the ultimate goal of Jainism. This, in turn, lowers the immune system, and that then makes us more likely to experience physical pain and sickness. Himsa means harming a living being. Violence is usually associated with causing harm to others. Is it worth the consequences? Let go of expectations of what you should do. Why Does Your Mala Necklace Have 108 Beads? If you understand that each shoe, wallet, steak or diamond has consequences for yourself and other beings would you do it? Spiritual traditions from all over the world have grappled with this question, and have recognized the profound role of the Divine Word as the origins, the beginning, of the universe. It  is  not  enough if  one  abstains from inflicting pain on other beings;  if you  approve of such conduct in others,  that approval makes  you  responsible  for  the  cruelty  of  killing  practiced by others. But according to the Jain philosophy , violence refers primarily to injuring one's own self – behaviour which inhibits the soul's own ability to attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of births and deaths). According to a popular but possibly naive understanding, the practice of Yoga automatically excludes any form of violence, conflict and anger. A link to reset your password has been sent to you. This often happens against ourselves. The yamas are the first of eight “limbs,” or means, to help you reach a state of yoga, or focused concentration, in order to perceive more clearly, be more connected with your authentic Self, and suffer less as a result. When we speak, we are naming our reality while using the power of the breath to form and express our words. Jains consider nonviolence to be the most essential duty for everyone (ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ). You don’t need to push these thoughts away ” just recognize them. Key concepts of Yoga, what are they? The yoga practice of non-violence can easily move into all aspects of your life. “When two nations are fighting,” he wrote, “the duty of a votary of ahimsa is to stop the war. When our thoughts contain negative responses like disappointment, resentment, or guilt, when we feel shame, we are subtly creating violence. Expecting too much of yourself and putting all responsibility in your own hands is a type of violence too, as is expecting that the world will run according to your design.  Hence, live in peace and nonviolence. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma. Dopamine is that chemical that makes you feel good and relax. What is ahimsa? Ahimsa: A global and humanistic practice Thinking about others’ welfare and not damaging it is a principle of supreme equality and integral peace. Concept of Ahimsa most basic and important morals principles for all Hindus regardless of their caste or stage in life. Also, move with intention. Ahimsa (the ‘m’ is nasal, like dans in French, the ‘a’ is long) is the ancient Sanskrit term usually translated as, and possibly the model for, ‘nonviolence.’ The translation is unfortunate, however, in that such negative compounds in Sanskrit were more positive in effect than the corresponding, literal translations in English. Ahimsa (sutra II:3o) is the first of five social and environmental guidelines, called yamas, presented by Patanjali in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutra. Violence disguises itself well; it manifests in words, actions and even inner thoughts. Their scrupulous and thorough way of applying nonviolence to everyday activities and food shapes their lives and is the most significant hallmark of Jain identity. More than any other religion, Jainism believes implicitly in the law of karma. Ahimsa is a state in which there is no violence at all. Mahavir’s words—“you are that which you intend to hit, injure, insult, torment, persecute, torture, enslave or kill.”. Gandhi’s concept of ahimsa evolved through confrontations with situations giving rise to moral dilemmas. Practice of ahimsa involves refraining from causing physical and psychological pain to any living being. Thoughts do this even if there’s no outside threat. Anything said or done in this world is echoed back with the same intensity. The doctrine of ahimsa believes that all living creatures are sacred and as human beings, we should avoid harm and violence against any living creature. And again, it’s not just those pesky bad thoughts we have about ourselves that do this. Download as PDF, Pigeon-feeding inside the Jain temple by Gaía Passarelli | Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0. When you allow yourself to acknowledge and observe, you’ll find that your thoughts slip from your awareness just as easily as they come in. Yoga creates the avenue to getting in touch with any violence you hold inside of you through non-violent means and therefore to express negativity without hurting anyone, yourself included. It’s always the first step in yoga because it teaches the yogi to stop harming ourselves and others, (including non-human animals). Ahimsa can be distilled into a practice of non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical to the mental and emotional. Jealousy, anger and judgement toward others make us feel bad as well. In the Vedic period of early Hinduism ritual sacrifice of animals and the subsequent consumption of its meat was a pre-dominant custom. Non-violence is defined by honest compassion and true love. In a broader sense, ahimsa means "universal love and compassion." Yes, exercising and eating well are hugely important for your health, but even if you do these things “right,” your thoughts can harm you. When I sat down and started to work on the key concepts of yoga, I started with the idea … But humans live out of sync with the mechanism when we go against our qualities of love, kindness and friendship for all living beings. For instance, Gandhi had to explain his concept in the context of war and to explain his own participation in the First World War. When you turn your yoga practice into a complete lifestyle, ahimsa can guide your daily interactions with yourself and others. By observing but not acting on our natural feelings of pain, hatred, pain and violence will move out of our lives, and doors will open to new understanding. Observe as they come into your consciousness, and then watch as they again leave. One could even say that the global ecological crisis that is threatening the entire human race is the consequence of an echoing back of our own negative thoughts, words and actions. THE CONCEPT OF `HIMSA’ Among the-twelve vratas or vows prescribed for continuous observance in daily life by Jaina religion, the first five vratas or vows are regarded as the main vratas or vows and even among these main vratas or vows the first and the prominent position has … Releasing negative energy through positive intentions transcends the negative aspects of yourself, creating peace in the world around you. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India. While this religious approach may not suit all, I believe there are some principles which could be shared more broadly to become part of the foundation of a sustainable future built on principles of respect, compassion, and discipline. In Jainism, ahimsa is the standard by which all actions are judged. Throughout his career, Gandhiji championed the cause of Ahimsa or non-violence.  When you harm someone, you are harming yourself. 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